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British parliamentary elections bring new regime to power
The British general elections that were held on May 6, formed a hung parliament after a long period of 70 years Britain is going to experience the coalition government which is formed by the Conservative party and Liberal Democratic party.
THE 2010 parliamentary election for House of Commons in United Kingdom is unprecedented and historical in many terms. The coalition government experience is although not new for UK, but after the Second World War, it is the first time in UK, when a coalition government has formed.
The main components of the coalition government are the Conservative party led by David Cameron and Liberal Democrats (Lib-Dems) led by Nick Clegg. However, it is the first time after 1974 and the second after the World War II when Britain got a hung parliament.
This is also an end of Labour party’s 13-year-old regime. In last 100 years, it is the first time when Tories and Lib-Dems have shared power at center. The fascinating facts do not end here, David Cameron the new prime minister of UK is the youngest PM (43 year old) in last 200 years. First time Britain experienced the television debates of electoral candidates, which is an important characteristic of American presidential elections.

Certainly, the present elections and its results will leave its unique marks on British history. However, before analyzing the outcome of general election, let us have a look at the election data and the performance of major parties. The elections for House of Commons were held in 649 constituencies out of 650, on May 6. It needed 326 seats for a clear majority and forming the government. The conservative party won the biggest share of total votes that is 36.1% and 306 seats.

Tories emerged as the biggest party, the incumbent Labour party got 258 seats, and 29% of vote share, the Lib-Dems stood at third place with 57 seats and 23% voting share, other small and independent candidates got 29 seats. Nonetheless, the election result formed a hung parliament, where Lib-Dems emerged as the kingmakers.

If we look at the performance of all three major parties, then it is quite clear that election result brought mixed and unexpected result for each of them. The Labours did not lose totally, in Wales where conservatives took a lead in number of gaining seats of other parties; Labours still emerged as the biggest party, Labours also kept their lead in Scotland. In England, conservatives got  a clear majority.

At the time of peak financial crisis, heavy deficit and a continuous 13 years rule, the Labours successfully rescued themselves from a clean sweep. Tories though emerged as the biggest party but still unable to form a government of their own. It shows that somewhere they failed to convert the supporting votes in to winning votes.
For the liberal democrats too, it is not a very cheerful moment. In previous elections (2005), they had 63 seats in House of Commons that fell down to 57. They lost 13 sitting MPs out of them some are high profile politicians. Although their voting share roused by 1%. Infect it was the impact of television debates that brought Lib-Dems in the centre of election battle field. Nick Clegg’s outstanding performance in television debates and his electrifying campaign, for which media started talking about “Cleggmania”, did not ended with a huge number of seats. Even Clegg himself started portraying the election struggle between Tories and Lib- Dems and totally denied the strength of Labours. Obviously, he had over estimated his position and power at the ground.

However, before forming the coalition of conservatives and Lib –Dems it took many rounds of conversations and discussions. The major issue was that whether Lib-Dems will support the government from outside or participate in government. On the other side, the Labour party also tried to get the support of Nick Clegg and his party as the British constitution allowed the residing PM to remain in office after the general elections until the new government does not take the charge of office. The ruling party also gets the first chance to form a government. But the Lib-Dems had serious objections over Gordon Brown’s leadership and they proposed change in leadership of Labour party, as the condition of power sharing.

After the waiting period of five days, hoping for a concrete deal with liberal democrats, Brown resigned on May 11, as the leader of Labour party. However, he was already under pressure inside his party because of the heavy defeat of Labours in the elections. At that moment, it seems that maybe some deal can take place between Labours and Liberal Democrats. However, the arithmetic of seats was not in their favor, Labours and Lib-Dems together could not reach to the necessary number of MPs to form a majority government (258+57= 305) which is still lesser then the required number of 326. Therefore, no such expected deal took place between Labours and Lib-Dems.

Finally, on May 12 the coalition government of conservative party and liberal democrats took oath, David Cameron, as the Prime Minister of United Kingdom and Nick Clegg as his deputy Prime Minister and five Lib-Dem MPs included in the cabinet. The major issues in front of the government are increasing financial deficit, increasing unemployment rate and illegal immigration etc. The major demand of Lib-Dems for the referendum, to replace the first –post-the –past system by proportional representation will be included in the main agenda of government. Besides, Lib-Dems agreed to abstain during voting in House of Commons on those policy issues where they disagree with conservative policy. More so, they will back all those cabinet decisions that related with financial deficit, taxation, public spending cut, immigration, foreign policy and defense. This kind of settlement shows the maturity and readiness of coalition partners.

As David Cameron said in his first speech as PM, “….it will be an administration united behind one key purpose… give our country a strong, stable and determined leadership”. Nick Clegg claimed that both parties are taking “big risk” but it would be a new, radical and reforming government. Certainly, the early signs are quite positive and raising hopes for future, but only time and circumstances would be able to tell the real story of this experiment.

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