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Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak topped another round of voting, leading the race to replace become the next United Kingdom prime minister, replacing Boris Johnson. Lawmaker Kemi Badenoch was eliminated from the contest.

By winning the fourth round of voting, Indian-origin Rishi Sunak has come closer to his place as one of two candidates who will go head-to-head to be elected the new Conservative Party leader and British prime minister.

In the fourth round of voting, Rishi Sunak received 118 votes from his party colleagues, just shy of the 120-mark – or one-third of Conservative Party MPs – needed to confirm his place as one of the final contenders in the race to replace Boris Johnson.

Rishi Sunak was followed by former Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt on 92 votes. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss bagged 86 votes. Kemi Badenoch trailed on 59 votes and was, therefore, eliminated from the contest.

To win the contest to become the next prime minister, Rishi Sunak presented policies to add momentum to their campaigns.

Rishi Sunak, whose resignation as finance minister helped trigger Boris Johnson's downfall, said he would implement harsher sentences for criminals who fail to attend court. He also promised to take a harsher step on grooming gangs if he became the prime minister.

Rishi Sunak also said that his top priority is to keep the British public safe.

"It will be my top priority in government to keep the British public safe - and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen," Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

The final two candidates in the race to lead the United Kingdom will be known after the fifth round of voting on Wednesday. At the end of the process, the race will be taken over by the Conservative Party headquarters to organise hustings in different parts of the UK.

The process will end with convincing the Tory party membership base, estimated at around 160,000 voters. They will cast their ballots in favour of one of the two remaining candidates.

The votes will be counted in the last week of August and the winner will be announced on September 5.

(With agency inputs)

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