Factbox: How will Britain's Conservative Party choose PM May's successor?

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Theresa May has said she will resign as Conservative Party leader on June 7, setting up a contest that will bring a new prime minister to power who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union.

May's announcement does not trigger a parliamentary election. So far eleven candidates have said they are running to replace her. The winner of the contest will become party leader and prime minister.

Here is how that process, which is overseen by the party's 1922 Committee, is expected to work:

CANDIDATES NOMINATED: Week Commencing June 10

Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership must be nominated by two other Conservative lawmakers. The party said it expects nominations to close in the week beginning June 10.

BALLOT OF LAWMAKERS: Concluded by end of June

Conservatives lawmakers then hold several rounds of votes to whittle down the number of candidates. Each time they are asked to vote for their favoured candidate in a secret ballot. The person with the fewest votes is eliminated.

In the past, this process has been repeated until there are two candidates remaining, with votes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The 1922 Committee is due to meet on June 4 to agree the arrangements for the contest. Given the number of candidates, it could choose to hold votes more often, or eliminate more than one at each vote in order to speed up the process.

The party said it expected this stage of the process to be completed by the end of June, but did not specify the number of candidates that would remain at the end of it.

MEMBERSHIP VOTE: Result before parliament's summer break

The final candidates are put to a postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader.

The party said it wanted to announce the result before parliament begins its summer break, usually in late July.

The party has around 160,000 members. It said hustings would take place during this final stage and non-members would also be given the chance to meet and question candidates.

WHO IS PRIME MINISTER DURING THE CONTEST?

In her resignation speech, May said she would serve as prime minister until the leadership election process was concluded.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Janet Lawrence)

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