5 curiosities of Rishi Sunak, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

(CNN Spanish) — “Hold on Barack Obama.” This is how the president of a Hindu temple in the United Kingdom described the election of Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister. In the midst of the political turmoil that the country is going through, his arrival in Downing Street is in itself a historical fact.

Sunak, who succeeded Liz Truss, made a rapid rise to power in the UK, first as a member of the House of Commons and then as a cabinet minister. Here, some facts about him that make him a unique prime minister.

1. He is of Indian descent

Sunak, whose parents came to the UK from East Africa in the 1960s, is of Indian descent. His father was a doctor, while his mother ran a pharmacy in the south of England, something that Sunak says made him want to serve the public.

In this sense, he is the first person from an ethnic minority and the first British-Asian person to reach the position of Prime Minister.

Sunak has spoken publicly about his parentage. In 2015 he said in an interview with Business Standard that on the census he checks the British Indian box. “I am completely British, this is my home and my country, but my religious and cultural heritage is Indian, my wife is Indian. I am open about being a Hindu,” he told the publication.

This Monday, after his election as the new leader, the president of India, Narendra Modi, published a message expressing his desire to work with him and calling him the “living bridge” of the Indians of the United Kingdom.

Sunak, new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 3:43

2. He is Hindu

He is also the first Hindu to become British Prime Minister. And he came to office just on the day Diwali is celebrated, the festival of lights that marks one of the most important days in the calendar of this religion (Sunak himself made history in 2020 when he lit the Diwali candles in front of the number 11 of Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of Economy and Finance).

The fact that Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister is a “Barak Obama moment” for the descendants of Indians in the United Kingdom, the president of the Hindu temple co-founded by Sunak’s grandparents in 1971 in the country said on Monday.

“It’s a proud moment for us, no doubt, that someone who belongs to the temple holds the highest position in the country as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” Sanjay Chandarana, president of the Southampton Vedic Society Hindu temple, told CNN.

3. He is a millionaire

This year, Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty — the daughter of an Indian billionaire — were featured in the Sunday Times’s list of the 250 richest people in the UK. The newspaper estimated their combined net worth at 730 million pounds ($826 million).

Rishi Sunak was educated among the elites: he studied at the exclusive Winchester College and at the universities of Oxford and Stanford.

He is known for his expensive tastes when it comes to fashion and has worked for banks and hedge funds like Goldman Sachs.

4. He was fined for the ‘Partygate’

Sunak was fined for so-called ‘Partygate’, the scandal in which former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was embroiled for months after it emerged that parties had been held at 10 Downing Street while the rest of the country was under lockdown. restrictions due to covid-19.

For a long time, Rishi Sunak supported Johnson. However, he turned on him after the then prime minister was slow to act when his deputy chief of staff, Chris Pincher, was accused of sexually assaulting two men at a party in early July.

Sunak’s surprise resignation from Johnson’s cabinet over the Pincher scandal set in motion a series of high-profile resignations that led to Johnson’s departure and, ultimately, his own promotion to Downing Street.

5. He is the youngest prime minister in centuries

Taking up his new post after an audience with King Charles III, Sunak, 42, became the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years.

With information from Ivana Kottasová and Luke McGee.

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