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British shock: PM May's election gamble appears to backfire

15 Juin 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May called an unnecessary election only two years into the parliamentary term, after promising that she had no intention of going to the public before 2020. British media reported that there will be no formal coalition as neither party thinks it is necessary.

As was the case with the spectacular fall of David Cameron, her Conservative predecessor who resigned after losing the Brexit vote he had initiated, May's wound is self-inflicted.

"I tend to support candidates I think are electorally viable", he said, backing Hillary Clinton over Sanders in last year's Democratic primaries despite being ideologically more aligned with the senator from Vermont. This translated into 318 seats for the Conservatives (a net loss of 12)-and a loss of the party's overall majority of 330-compared to 261 seats for Labour (a net gain of 29). One can nearly hear the death knell ringing in Edinburgh as stalwarts of the Scottish independence movement, including the former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, lost their seats to unionist candidates. European Union leaders have vowed to make Britain pay a steep price for abandoning them, a process that will take two years. DUP leader Arlene Foster confirmed plans to hold talks with the Conservatives to discuss a way "to bring stability to our nation at this time of great challenge".

Though May's Conservative Party emerged as the single largest party on a sensational election night, the impressive show by the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn sent the British politics into turmoil, putting May in a complex situation ahead of the Brexit talks scheduled to start on June 19.

Northern Ireland voted in favour of remaining inside the European Union in the June 23 referendum past year, going against the national trend in favour of Brexit. He also hammered May on her lack of detail on domestic policies on education, health care and welfare policies.

After lagging behind in the opinion polls in the run up to Thursday's election, several murmured about the possibility of unseating Corbyn after the vote if he had done badly - a suggestion that has been put to rest, at least for now. She did not get that mandate. "And our leader needs to take stock as well".

After the release of the exit polls late Thursday, the British currency lost as much as 3 cents on the dollar and then fell as low as $1.2636 in Asian trading hours as the final results were announced early Friday morning, according to CBS. "The clean Brexit that everyone in UKIP hoped for is now in jeopardy", said Patrick O'Flynn, who represents the U.K. Independence Party in the European Parliament. Is it possible that, having modelled the various permutations, his view is that the best Brexit for the United Kingdom is a softer Brexit, leaving the United Kingdom within the single market?

In an interview just days before polls opened, Corbyn said, "The choice at this election couldn't be clearer".

Political deadlock in London could derail negotiations with the other 27 European Union countries ahead of Britain's exit from the bloc, due in March 2019, before they even begin in earnest.

Corbyn said the result means "politics has changed" and voters have rejected Conservative austerity.

During the campaign, May vowed to build a "stronger, fairer and more prosperous Britain", while Corbyn's signature campaign slogan was to govern "for the many, not the few". The EU has insisted that the talks must be completed within two years and they have said Britain must first cover all of the financial costs associated with leaving, such as continuing pension obligations. "Let's put our minds together on striking a deal", Michel Barnier said.

British shock: PM May's election gamble appears to backfire