After Election, Britain Wonders: What Now?

Neither of the three largest parties have a majority of seats in the House of Commons.

Statue of former British prime minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, in Parliament Square, London, England, May 30, 2005
Statue of former British prime minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, in Parliament Square, London, England, May 30, 2005 (JR P)

People in the United Kingdom woke up to a morning of continued political uncertainty on Friday.

With election results pouring in all through the night, no decisive Conservative victory, let alone a viable majority, has emerged yet.

Nobody has a majority

In spite of last night’s expectations, the right won’t come close to gaining an outright majority in Parliament with just a dozen voting districts still unaccounted for.

Currently, the Conservative Party has gained 94 seats compared to 2005 and reached a total of 301 — 25 short of a majority.

Labour lost 88 seats to end up with 255 while the Liberal Democrats, in spite of winning almost a quarter of the popular vote, lost a few constituencies. They now have 55 seats.

Liberals kingmakers

If the Conservatives want to govern, there is no way for them to circumvent the liberals by working with smaller parties from Northern Ireland and Scotland instead.

Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said the party with the greatest number of seats has the right to form a government.

The Conservatives would have a stable majority with his support, but David Cameron and his party are not at all interested in the electoral reforms proposed by the liberals — likely to be their first demand in exchange for participating in government.

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