The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union brought the country to a screeching halt two weeks ago as the unexpected Brexit wreaked havoc on the economic and political landscape. Prime Minister David Cameron, who threw a significant amount of his political weight behind Team Remain, resigned as the U.K.'s leader, citing inefficacy in the wake of the vote. Now, Britain is looking for a new prime minister to bring it through a tumultuous "divorce" from the E.U., and three candidates have risen to the top of the pool.
Either Justice Minister Michael Gove, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, or Home Secretary Theresa May will be the next prime minister of the U.K., and whomever wins the elections will have the difficult task of leading the country through the arduous process of leaving the E.U.
Gove's candidacy for prime minister pushed former London mayor Boris Johnson out of the running, proving that he's a political heavyweight. As justice minister, Gove's got the experience necessary to handle the country, but doesn't have the support from within the party. He placed third behind Leadsom and May in the primary elections on Monday, and he's got the longest odds to win the election. Apparently, he's seen as cold and cutthroat among colleagues, and one even compared him to Frank Underwood from House of Cards. It doesn't look like Gove will be able to overcome his unsavory reputation, meaning the next PM will more than likely be a woman.
Leadsom garnered Johnson's endorsement after he dropped out of the race. "Andrea Leadsom offers the zap, the drive, and the determination essential for the next leader of this country," Johnson said in a statement endorsing Leadsom. She is a proponent of fracking and an opponent of gay marriage who has attracted significant criticism from the liberals of Britain, but she's making headway in the PM race. Leadsom finished second in the primary and has "momentum" to go all the way, according to MP Penny Mordaunt.
May, the current Home Secretary, is perhaps the most likely choice to be the new PM. May is backed by more than 100 other conservative politicians, including one of the former candidates Stephen Crabb, who dropped out Tuesday after a fourth place finish in the primary. Unlike Leadsom and Gove, May campaigned to stay in the European Union before the Brexit vote, but now she's seen as the best person to keep the country together and unite the parties. Since 1.2 million Leave voters are said to now regret their choice, May could be in the best position to campaign for all sides of the issue.
Now that only three candidates remain, there will be only one more round of voting by Conservative MPs to eliminate the candidate with the lowest tally. Then, members of the Conservative party get to weigh in on their next leader, at which time a new prime minister will begin to lead the country through one of the most trying periods in its 300-year history. The decision is due by Sept. 9, which could prove a long wait for the struggling British economy, but the country will have to hold on until the best candidate for the job can be chosen.