The Prime Minister is a novel by Anthony Trollope, first published in 1876. It is the fifth of the "Palliser" series of novels.
When neither the Whigs nor the Tories are able to form a government on their own, a fragile compromise coalition government is formed, with Plantagenet Palliser, the wealthy and hard-working Duke of Omnium, installed as Prime Minister. The Duchess (previously known as Lady Glencora, before her husband inherited a dukedom) attempts to support her husband by hosting lavish parties. Palliser is initially unsure that he is fit to lead, then grows to enjoy the high office, and finally becomes increasingly distressed when his government proves to be too weak and divided to accomplish anything.
A significant sub-plot centres on Ferdinand Lopez, a financially overextended city adventurer of undisclosed parentage, who wins the favour of Emily Wharton. She marries Lopez despite her father's objections and soon has cause to regret her choice. Lopez meets the Duchess at one of her parties and is encouraged to run for Parliament. He campaigns against a popular former suitor of Emily's, as well as a local tradesman, and withdraws from the contest when he sees he has no chance. He then insists that the Duke reimburse him for the election expenses, since the Duchess had led him to believe that he would have the Duke's endorsement. The Duke's strong sense of personal honour forces him to give in to Lopez's shameless (and desperate) demands, but this causes a minor political scandal when it becomes known. It appears to many people that Palliser has used his great influence and wealth to buy a seat in Parliament for a supporter. This causes the Duke great unhappiness. Meanwhile, Lopez's high-risk gambles lead to financial ruin and, after failing to persuade the wealthy Lizzie Eustace (protagonist of The Eustace Diamonds) to run away with him to Guatemala, he takes his own life. After a period of mourning, Emily is persuaded to accept her former suitor.
Eventually the coalition government breaks apart and the Duke resigns, to both his regret and relief.
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