United Kingdom leader May seen fighting for survival after election failure

Patrice Gainsbourg
Junho 10, 2017

After calling a snap election in April in anticipation of a landslide, she ended up with an electoral train wreck, in which her Conservative Party actually lost its parliamentary majority.

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn were supposed to lose a swag of seats, Ms May would have a mandate big enough to quash dissenters within the Conservatives to boot and the United Kingdom could forget about an election for another five years.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservative Party has failed to win an overall majority in parliament, and the country is now set for a hung parliament. Some are blaming David Davis, a Cabinet minister, who pushed hardest for the snap polls, which seems to have backfired the party.

Instead, she risks an ignominious exit after just 11 months at Number 10 Downing Street, which would be the shortest tenure of any prime minister for nearly a century. The inherent weakness of a minority government raises the prospect of another election later this year, which would undoubtedly cause more turbulence.

"It undermines her authority in the party, it undermines her authority in the view of the electorate but it undermines her authority if she's to negotiate leaving the European Union", he said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives are no longer able to win an outright majority in parliament after 633 seats declared.

But how do the numbers add up, and who has a realistic chance of forming a Coalition Government? Their 42 percent vote share is the party's largest since Margaret Thatcher was in power.

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Traders and analysts in the City of London financial district spoke about feeling jaded, not just because they were up all night awaiting the results but because the UK's second shock election result in a year throws the nature of Brexit talks into yet more doubt.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg after losing his seat: "We saw that in the Brexit referendum a year ago and we see it here again tonight, polarised between left and right, between different regions and nations and areas of the country, but most gravely of all, this huge gulf now between young and old". Her appearances were limited to tightly controlled events in bleak factory spaces, during which she said little of substance and refused to answer questions from the media, let alone explain her plans for the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, which formally get underway later this month.

European Council President Donald Tusk, who will oversee EU negotiations on Britain's withdrawal, has warned that London faces a firm deadline to complete talks and that delays in starting them raise the risk of failing to reach a deal. She wilted under the public gaze and has only appeared to recover her old self upon returning to the safety of her advisers in No. 10. Parliament could be dissolved and yet another general election could be called.

"I blame her party for destroying Britain by pushing for Brexit and austerity, two things that will ultimately be bad for my generation". She was criticized for a lackluster campaigning style and for a plan to force elderly people to pay more for their care, a proposal her opponents dubbed the "dementia tax".

"Even if she manages to get just enough seats it will be seen as a failure and she may indeed be under pressure to resign as leader quite quickly", said Paula Surridge, senior lecturer at the University of Bristol.

Mr Corbyn was more blunt, simply saying it was time for her "to go".

Britain has been hit with three terror attacks since March, and campaigning was twice suspended.

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