The Guardian
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Nigerian Wins UK Election


* Labour, Conservatives Hit Stalemate

A 27-year-old Nigerian, Mr. Chuka Umunna, has won a seat with a Labour ticket in the United Kingdom (UK) election. But there is no clear majority winner yet between the Labour Party and the Conservatives as they reached a stalemate in the Thursday election.

The Conservatives gained the largest number of seats but fell short of the parliamentary majority needed to govern alone.

With neither the Tories nor Labour winning the key 326 seats needed for a majority government after the tightest general election in decades, the first hung parliament since 1974 was declared yesterday.

Umunna said he was “humbled” by winning a close fought contest to take the Streatham seat. Umunna, standing for the first time, took the seat with a 3259-vote majority.

Umunna, a leading organiser of the Black Socialist Society (BSS) and vice-chairman of the Streatham Labour Party in south London, hauled a massive 20,037 votes, beating his nearest rival, Liberal Democrat candidate Chris Nicholson, who recieved 16,778 votes.

He called the victory “a quite extraordinary night.” He said: “I was born and bred in this constituency and the fact is that so many of my neighbours, close friends and people I know in the community knew that I am tasked to represent them is something that makes me deeply humbled. “I know our party will do everything we can for the residents of this fantastic place.”

Born in London of mixed Nigerian, English and Irish parentage, he went to school in Streatham and Catford. He obtained a degree in English Law and French Law and spent some time at the University of Burgundy, before attending Law School in Nottingham.

With 638 of the 650 seats counted, the Conservatives had secured 301 seats, Labour 255, the Liberal Democrats 55 and smaller parties, 27 seats. At least 326 of the House of Commons’ 650 seats are needed to form a government with a majority

The result left Labour and The Conservatives jockeying for the support of smaller parties as the uncertainty sent markets slumping.

As sitting prime minister, Gordon Brown would traditionally be given the first chance to put together a government. His left-of-center Labour Party is seen as a more natural coalition fit with the Liberal Democrats, the third-place party now thrust into the role of potential kingmaker.

“I think it is now for the Conservative Party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest,” he said.

Conservative leader David Cameron planned to make a statement, which his party said would outline his plan for “strong and stable” government.

“The country has spoken – but we don’t know what they’ve said,” former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown said, summing up confusion.

Conservative leader David Cameron says he is ready to govern Britain and is putting forward a “big comprehensive and open offer” to the Liberal Democrat party to help him form a government.

Cameron claimed the mantle of power on Friday after winning the most seats in the election – though not enough to form a majority.

He told reporters a stable government was needed quickly to calm the financial markets. He says the Tories would promise to implement parts of Liberal Democratic election manifesto – but stopped short of offering to fulfill their demand of electoral reform.

Associated Press (AP) reported that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a bid yesterday to stay in office after Britain’s indecisive election, saying he is prepared to speak to any other party about forming an alliance. Jittery financial markets clamored for a quick resolution to the stalemate.

Brown reached out to the Liberal Democrats, saying he backed the third party’s call for electoral reform. In a carefully crafted statement that combined humility with assertiveness, Brown said there should be immediate action on reform.

“There needs to be immediate legislation on this to begin to restore the public’s trust in politics,” Brown said. With the front door of 10 Downing Street behind him, he said he would be “willing to see any of the party leaders” about making a deal.

“The question for all the political parties now is whether a parliamentary majority can be established that reflects what you, the electorate, have told us,” Brown said.

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