Britain holds unpredictable elections today
BRITONS are gearing up for elections seen by analysts as the most unpredictable in living memory, with no party expected to win a majority. The Conservative party and Labour are the major parties contesting today’s election, but several smaller blocs are on the rise, marking a shift to a type of fragmented politics that is more familiar in other parts of Europe.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats, has even warned of another election this year if an unstable minority government takes power.
On the final day of campaigning yesterday, Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his chief Labour rival, Ed Miliband, embarked on tours of the country in a scramble for votes.
A Conservative victory could raise the risk of Britain exiting the European Union because it would mean a membership referendum, while some experts warn that a Labour win could spread unease among investors.
Polls open at 0600 GMT and close at 2100 GMT, with exit polls published immediately after that and the first results coming in from around midnight.
Vote tallies for the 650 seats will be announced during the night and final results are not expected until tomorrow afternoon.
Tens of millions of people are registered to vote, and nearly 4,000 candidates are in the running for parliament.
Ballots will be cast in around 50,000 polling stations dotted around the country, including in unusual places like pubs, caravans and even garages.
If the election results are not decisive as widely expected, negotiations between the parties could start immediately, although they may be delayed by ceremonies for the anniversary of the end of World War II.
The latest BBC “poll of polls” average puts the Conservatives at 34 per cent, followed by Labour at 33 per cent, the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) at 14 per cent and the Liberal Democrats, who are currently junior members in a governing coalition with the Conservatives, at just eight per cent.