UK election underway as Labour seeks to return to power after 14 years

4 Temmuz 2024 20:06



The public has from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time to cast a vote for their local parliamentary candidate. Shortly after that, a closely watched exit poll will be released. Ballots will be counted overnight, and a result is expected on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the vote six weeks ago, surprising politicians and the public alike. Most had expected the election to take place later in the year, giving more time for the recent decline in inflation and anticipated reduction in interest rates to hit voters’ wallets.

A number of smaller parties are vying to win seats in the 650-member House of Commons, the U.K.’s lower house of parliament. These include the Liberal Democrats, Greens, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, the Democratic Unionist Party, and Nigel Farage’s Reform UK. Votes will be cast across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Within the U.K. political system, a party increasing its share of the popular vote does not necessarily translate to winning more parliamentary seats. It is all but guaranteed that either the Conservatives or Labour, led by Keir Starmer, will receive the reins of power. That could either be through winning an absolute majority or by forming a coalition government.

Political surveys have pointed to a resounding Labour victory for nearly two years, even though the party will require a historic gain of almost 13% in the national vote to win even a narrow parliamentary majority, according to Hannah Bunting, lecturer in quantitative British politics at the University of Exeter. That would be a bigger swing than the one achieved by Labour’s Tony Blair over John Major in 1997.

The legacy of 14 years of Conservative rule — with the party winning power through a coalition arrangement under David Cameron in 2010 — has been a key theme on the campaign trail.

Sunak and Starmer have sought to convince the public that their party can address critical issues spanning housing, the National Health Service and defense.

Sunak claimed during a debate in early June that Labour’s policies would lead to a £2,000 ($2,553.73) tax rise for “every working family” over the course of the next parliament. Starmer said the figure was “made-up,” while the party has laid out tax increases targeting only specific groups.

Albania News Agency

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