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United Kingdom

Britain's UKIP picks Paul Nuttall as new leader to succeed Farage

The euroskeptic UK Independence Party has chosen Paul Nuttall, a European Parliament member, to replace Nigel Farage. Nuttall beat two other contenders in the contest to lead the populist party.

Britain's UK Independence Party, which played a major role in campaigning for the country to leave the European Union, on Monday voted in Paul Nuttall, 39, to succeed several-time leader Nigel Farage (seen r. with Nuttall above).

Nuttall previously served as UKIP's deputy leader for six years until September, when party infighting following the Brexit vote led to his stepping down from the post. He currently leads the 24-seat contingent that UKIP has in the European Parliament.

The leadership of the anti-immigration, populist party has been through a rocky period, starting with Farage's resignation after the June Brexit referendum.

His replacement, Diane James, quit the role in a shock move within a month, leading to Farage taking up the leadership position for the third time in his political career, this time on an interim basis.  James, it transpired, had written the Latin for "under duress" beneath her signature when initially taking up the party leadership. 

During the second leadership selection process, Steven Woolfe, considered the favorite for the party leadership during both contests (he submitted his application too late to be eligible for the first contest), dropped out of UKIP altogether after he was hospitalized in a fight with a colleague.

The face of UKIP

Nuttall won the vote against two other candidates, Suzanne Evans and John Rees-Evans.

The party has just one MP in the 650-seat House of Commons, or British lower house, despite winning almost 4 million votes in the 2015 general election.

The party now faces an uncertain future, having gained prominence largely through the charismatic personality of Farage, one of its founding members.

Recently, Farage has also been in the spotlight because of his strong relationship with US President-elect Donald Trump, who caused a stir with a proposal for Farage to become the UK's ambassador to the United States - an idea that was rapidly dismissed by the British government.

tj/msh (AP, dpa)

 

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