Rishi Sunak, the first Hindu to rule the UK

Before beginning his mandate, Rishi Sunak has already made history: he is the first leader of the British Conservative Party and the budding head of the Government, a member of an ethnic minority, of a non-white race, the first Hindu, the youngest since the 18th century, 42 years old, and at the moment the richest deputy in Parliament.

Waiting for him to assume the position of prime minister, which he will inherit from the resigning Liz Truss, Sunak ends with his election today as leader of the "Tories" a meteoric career that began when in 2015 he won his seat in the House of Commons.

He gets the keys to number 10 Downing Street in the middle of the Divali festival -the most important festival in India and therefore a special moment for him-, after having come second in the previous internal elections to succeed Boris Johnson, who won Truss on September 6.

Sunak, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer before he resigned in July from the Johnson government, finds himself with a bitterly divided Conservative Party, an economy on the brink of recession and a Britain whose reputation has been damaged by its recent political and economic upheaval.

FROM FINANCES TO POLITICAL POWER

After a lucrative stage in the financial sector, Sunak was elected MP for Richmond, in the English county of North Yorkshire, in 2015 and began to stand out on the right wing of the Conservatives with his support for Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

Thanks to this, he was appointed by Johnson Chief Secretary of the Treasury on July 24, 2019 and promoted to Minister of the Economy on February 13, 2020, replacing Sajid Javid. His resignation on July 5 precipitated the fall of his boss, which strained relations between the two.

During his time at the head of the public treasury, he was praised for his employment protection plan during the pandemic but was criticized for insufficient aid to citizens in the face of rampant inflation and a tax increase that he later partially reversed due to pressure from his colleagues.

His proposal now as head of the Executive is to raise taxes to control inflation and grow the economy with measures yet to be specified, in a return to the fiscal conservatism absent in the plan of his predecessor.

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Before entering politics, Sunak held positions at several financial firms, including the investment bank Goldman Sachs and the venture capital fund The children’s investment Fund Management.

In 2010 he joined another fund manager, Theleme Partners, and was a director of Catamaran Ventures, owned by his father-in-law, Indian millionaire NR Narayana Murthy.

PERSONAL IMAGE

Although he is relatively unknown to the general public, Sunak’s image suffered a setback last April when he was fined along with Johnson for participating in one of the parties that violated the anticovid regulations in the Downing Street offices, for which he apologized although he always defended that he was only passing through.

That same month, the tax arrangements of his wife Akshata Murty, who until then had not been listed in the United Kingdom, were criticized.

With a personal fortune estimated at 730 million pounds (841 million euros), Sunak is also questioned about his ability to empathize with the most disadvantaged classes and to connect with the electorate ahead of the next general election, scheduled for 2024.

Raised in the city of Southampton (South English), Rishi Sunak, of Hindu religion, is the son of Yashvir, who was a doctor, and Usha Sunak, a pharmacist, and the grandson of immigrants from the Indian region of Punjab, who came to the United Kingdom in the 1960s from East Africa.

The eldest of three brothers, he was educated at the elite private school in Winchester and, as is typical among the political class of this country, he graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE, in English) from the English University of Oxford.

He completed his studies with a master’s degree in Business Administration at the American University of Stanford -which he accessed with a Fulbright scholarship-, where he met his wife, mother of his two girls and daughter of the co-founder of the multinational Infosys.

Sunak, who presents himself as a dynamic politician inspired by the creativity of the American Silicon Valley, has confessed that he is addicted to Coca Cola and a super fan of Star Wars.

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