Sunday, June 11, 2017

Conservatives Win the British Parliamentary Elections

           The ruling Conservatives again won the most votes and seats in the snap British parliamentary elections, but lost their majority in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May was granted a mandate from the Queen to form a coalition government with a pro-unionist socially conservative party in Northern Ireland, which gained seats in the Parliament.  Together, the two parties have a narrow majority, although it is slightly more conservative than the one it is replacing.  The Conservatives had governed without a coalition.  May has reappointed her Cabinet.

            The leader of the far-left party, who had served in a grand coalition with the Conservatives under Prime Minister David Cameron, lost his seat, one of only two the party, which had been the third largest in Parliament, had held.  The pro-Scottish independence party lost seats, mostly to the Tories, meaning that the main opposition liberal party lost seats in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.  However, the liberals gained seats, despite being led by a populist far-left leader.  Nationalist candidates were shut out of Westminster.  

            The Conservative premier, who took over last year after the resignation of Cameron following the approval of the referendum to leave the European Union, had called for early elections after polls suggested the public favored her plan to negotiate the exit, but anxieties about the negotiations with the EU, as well as the populism of the opposition leader, May’s style and overconfidence, a proposed increase in the cost for health benefits for the elderly, the perception that she was not tough enough against Donald Trump, and recent terrorist attacks, combined nearly to sink the Tories.  Instead of gaining a larger majority from the snap elections, the Conservatives lost the small one they had.  May’s leadership of the party could be challenged.  

           The smaller majority for the ruling party could make negotiations for leaving the EU more difficult.  The coalition government may prove unstable.  Both situations contribute to economic uncertainty for both the UK and the EU.

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