British lawmaker Theresa May has won the first round of voting to decide who will succeed Prime Minister David Cameron. Former defense secretary Liam Fox became the first candidate to be eliminated from the race.
Lawmakers from Britain's Conservative party gave 165 votes to Home Secretary Theresa May in Tuesday's poll, with junior Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom trailing in second place on 66 votes.
The leadership contest was triggered by Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to step down after the British public voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23.
Tuesday's vote was the first in a series of twice-weekly ballots which will be held until only two candidates are left.
And then there were three
Tuesday's first round saw Justice Secretary Michael Gove receive 48 votes, while Pensions Minister Stephen Crabb finished fourth with 34 supporters. Liam Fox, a pro-Brexit candidate and former defense secretary, came last with just 16 votes and was removed from the contest.
Shortly after the tally was announced, Crabb withdrew from the race and endorsed frontrunner May, saying she was the only candidate who could unite the party.
The next round of voting will take place on Thursday, when the Conservative party's 330 MPs can choose from the three remaining candidates. The two finalists will ultimately be put before the entire party membership, with the new Tory leader expected to be announced on September 9.
The winner will become both the next leader of the ruling Conservative party and the British prime minister, tasked with negotiating the UK's exit from the EU.
nm/kms (AP, Reuters, AFP)