David Cameron is the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the first Conservative British Premier in thirteen years. Queen Elizabeth II asked the Tory leader to form a government after Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the Labour Party resigned after failing to form a liberal coalition with the leftist Liberal Democrats. Labour had been in government since 1997.
A coalition was necessary because no party won a majority in Parliament for the first time since 1974. The opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were successful in forming a coalition that will focus on areas of agreement: reducing the British budget deficit by cutting spending and not raising taxes, education reform and opposing a national identity card, despite their ideological differences on other issues, as I anticipated in my last post.
It remains unclear how the Liberal Democratic priority of election reform will be addressed, other than through a possible referendum for which the Tories would not campaign in favor, as the Liberal Democratic demand for proportional representation in Parliament would be politically detrimental to the Conservatives.
The Liberal Democratic leader, Nick Clegg, will become Deputy Prime Minister and his party will hold a number of seats in the Cabinet for the first time in several decades.
The coalition may prove unstable, but the successful negotiations that brought it about will eliminate the immediate uncertainty produced by the hung parliament that had reduced confidence in the British economy. New elections -- as early as six months from now -- are possible.
But by focusing on accomplishing a few goals, the unusual center-right/far left coalition may bring about the temporary stability the United Kingdom, Europe and the world need economically. Indeed, the rest of the world will be watching the U.K. to see whether the British are able to reduce their deficit without weakening their economy -- the standard by which the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition will be judged, regardless of how long the union lasts or whatever other reforms it is able to achieve.
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