Britain PM Tony Blair steps down
After much speculation, Tony Blair has finally announced that he is to step down. The announcement comes at a time when public disenchantment with the Iraq war and internal scandals have climaxed and brought Blair's impressive leadership to a dissapointing end.
So who will take over? Much speculation has centred on Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
This is a short bio from the Ministry website:
Mr Brown was born in 1951 and educated at Kirkcaldy High School and Edinburgh University where he gained 1st Class Honours and then a Doctorate. He was Rector of Edinburgh University and Chairman of the University Court between 1972 and 1975. From 1976 to 1980, Mr Brown lectured at Edinburgh University and then Caledonian University before taking up a post at Scottish TV (1980 - 1983).
After becoming an MP, Mr Brown was the Chair of the Labour Party Scottish Council (1983 - 1984). Before becoming Shadow Chancellor he held two other senior posts
on the Opposition front bench - Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1987 - 1989) and Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary (1989 -1992).
"In government you carry each hope, each disillusion ... ," Blair said last September, near the beginning of what has been a long, slow march toward an announcement Thursday that he will step down to allow for a party leadership contest that will likely end this summer. Gordon Brown, his treasury chief, is expected to become Britain's next prime minister; general elections won't be held until 2009, at the earliest.
"The truth is," Blair said, "you can't go on forever."
The mood today couldn't be more different from the euphoria that greeted Blair's arrival at No. 10 Downing St.