Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi and former Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt have dropped out of the race for the premiership despite the former being among the top runners.
The top runner, after the first round of votes, is former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak. He resigned from the British government last week, triggering Boris Johnson's downfall. He currently has the support of 88 Conservative MPs, leading the second in line, Penny Mordaunt (67 MPs) by 21 votes.
The UK's richest politician and member of the British Conservative party Rishi Sunak gained early momentum in the race to become the next British prime minister after Boris Johnson's resignation.
Sunak launched on Tuesday his political campaign with promises to fix the British economy which is on the verge of stagflation, in addition to cutting taxes as soon as the economy is strong again. On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, a former foreign secretary, and Brexit supporter along with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced their support for Sunak.
����Six candidates still in race to replace UK PM Johnson:A Conservative MP announces that 6 candidates remain in the running to replace UK PM Boris Johnson after a first round of voting, with finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former foreign minister Jeremy Hunt eliminated. pic.twitter.com/wizn7YHLAe
According to a poll by ConservativeHome, Mordaunt is the most popular member of the party; in second place comes former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch with Sunak landing third, despite a number of analysts arguing that Sunak is at the forefront.
Conservative lawmakers will be holding more votes to rule out weaker candidates until the votes come down to two as of Thursday next week. After that takes place, one candidate has to impress some 150,000 members of the Conservative party to be chosen as the party's leader.
Johnson, 58, announced that he would step down after a string of resignations from his government in protest of his leadership. He will, however, stay as Prime Minister until a replacement is found.
A timetable for the Tory leadership race is set to be confirmed next week, and the new prime minister is expected to assume the post by September.