Due to the brexit blockade in london, prime minister theresa may announced her resignation on friday. She announces on 7. June steps down as leader of british conservatives and will also be replaced as head of government by the end of july.
Her opponent and former eagle minister boris johnson immediately put himself in position as successor and threatened to leave the eu without an agreement. Opposition leader jeremy corbyn, the leader of the labor party, called for a new election.
This raises fears of a chaotic break with the uk after the expiry of the withdrawal deadline on 31 december. October — with unforeseeable economic consequences and gross uncertainty for citizens. May wanted to avert this last and also the british house of commons is against it. But there was no majority in parliament for a good solution.
German chancellor angela merkel is also strictly against a brexit without a treaty. She will "do everything in her power to ensure that there is a good partnership relationship with britain, an orderly exit and then continued good cooperation," merkel said in munich. She paid her respect to may. Eu commission chief jean-claude juncker also acknowledged may’s announcement with regret.
May had failed three times since the beginning of the year to get a majority in the house of commons for the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the european union. After a last attempt at compromise this week, she received so much pressure from within her own party that she finally took the step she had been expecting for months: wearing a red costume, may stepped outside her official residence in downing street and read out her resignation announcement — in the end under tranes.
"I will shortly be handing over the job that has been the greatest honor of my life," she said, visibly emotional. "I will do so without rancor, with enormous and abiding gratitude that i have had the chance to serve the country i love."She will always deeply regret not having been able to complete the brexit.
May will continue as prime minister until a successor is elected. This is expected for the 21. Or 22. July. To her possible successors, she has already suggested a quote from sir nicholas winton, who rescued hundreds of children from german-occupied czechoslovakia during the nazi era: "never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise."
But may did not succeed in reaching a rough brexit compromise — neither within his own party nor with the labor opposition. The house of commons is as fractured as the entire country after the narrow referendum vote to leave the eu in 2016. Some want a clearer break with the eu than may, others want closer ties, others no brexit at all or a second referendum. Because parliament was determined not to follow her, but also did not want to risk a brexit without a treaty, may asked the eu twice to extend the exit deadline. The clock is ticking, as things stand, to 31. October.
In rough field of potential successors, brexit hardliner johnson seen as favorite. Many in the conservative party believe he can win back voters who apparently defected in droves to the new brexit party in thursday’s european elections. Johnson has repeatedly suggested that he will get a better deal out of brussel than may did.
From him came a prompt declaration of war. At a conference in switzerland, he said, according to local reporters: "of course i’m running for prime minister." and further: "to get a good deal, you have to be prepared for a no-deal. To get something done, you have to be ready to leave the other guy standing."
But the eu has repeatedly ruled out further negotiations on the withdrawal agreement. Nothing has changed for brussel now, brexit expert fabian zuleeg of the think tank european policy centre told the deutsche presse agency. The principles laid down in the withdrawal agreement cannot be changed.
Bottom line, zuleeg sees high risk for a disorderly brexit that would leave citizens and the economy in uncertainty. "You have to continue to reckon with the fact that this could happen," said the expert.
The spanish government now considers a brexit without a treaty to be almost inevitable, according to a spokeswoman. The cdu’s european politician elmar brok takes a similar view: "in view of the people involved and the timetable, i fear that a hard brexit is inevitable," he told the newspaper "heilbronner stimme" (saturday).
Austria’s chancellor sebastian kurz expressed the hope on twitter that "common sense will prevail in the uk." netherlands prime minister mark rutte also tweeted that the brexit deal is not off the table yet.
In addition to johnson, a number of other candidates are being considered to succeed may, many of whom also advocate a strict line on brexit: former brexit minister dominic raab, home secretary jeremy hunt, home secretary sajid javid, development aid minister rory stewart, environment secretary michael gove, ex-parliamentary affairs minister andrea leadsom, and defense secretary penny mordaunt.
A multi-stage selection process now follows. First, the field of candidates is reduced to two candidates in several ballots by the tory delegates. In each ballot, the last-place finisher is eliminated. The two remaining candidates must face the party base in a primary election. The change of leadership will not change the narrow majority in parliament — unless there is a new election. But it is questionable whether the conservatives will take the risk in view of the recent election defeats.