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United Kingdom - Elections 2010

EU election results in June 2009, in which Labour scraped together a mere 15.7 percent -- its smallest share of a national vote in 100 years – cemented the notion that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was anything but a popular leader. An editorial in The Times newspaper said “he (Brown) limps on, disrespected by ministers, resented by backbenchers, disliked by the electorate. He is in office but not in power.”

Labour party was in third place among voters. An Ipsos Mori poll released in late September 2009, just before the Labour Party annual conference gave the Conservatives 36 percent of potential votes, the Liberal Democrats 25 percent and the Labour Party 24 percent. There had been calls from within his own party for Brown to stand aside, with some detractors saying that the only chance Labour has of winning the next general election was with a different candidate.

Brown asked Queen Elizabeth to dissolve Parliament so a general election can be held May 6. The election looked to be a close fight. Prime Minister Gordon Brown made the long expected announcement on 06 April standing on the steps of his residence at Number 10 Downing Street, surrounded by his Cabinet ministers.

"It will come as no surprise to all of you, and it is probably the least kept secret of recent years that the Queen has kindly agreed to the dissolution of parliament and a general election will take place on May 6," he said. Brown said he had one simple message. "Britain is on the road to recovery and nothing we do should put that recovery at risk," said the prime minister.

The Labor Party had been in power for 13 years. Brown emphasized his financial experience, he was the British Cabinet minister in charge of finance under former prime minister Tony Blair before he took over from Blair in June 2007. This election was Brown's first as prime minister. "I am asking you the British people for a clear and straightforward mandate to continue the urgent and hard work of securing the recovery, building our industries for the future and creating a million skilled jobs over the next five years," he said.

Brown's main rival, David Cameron leads the Conservative Party. He told supporters the voters' concerns are clear. "Let me tell you what I think this election is all about. It is about the future of our economy, it is about the future of our society. It is about the future of our country. It is the most important general election for a generation, and it comes down to this, you do not have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown," said Cameron.

Nick Clegg, head of the third-place Liberal Democrat Party said this will not just be a two-way fight. He called it a choice between old politics and a new way. "I think this is a huge, huge election," said Clegg. "I think this is the beginning of the end for Brown. I think he is directly and personally responsible, for so many of the things that have gone on in the last 13 years."

As Britain recovers from the worst economic storm in decades, economic issues that would dominate the run-up to polling day. ersonalities were expected to be a big feature in this election. For the first time in British history, the three main candidates would debate each other live on television. Labour portrayed David Cameron as a privately educated, upper-class, establishment figure who doesn't understand ordinary people.

Three main parties were at the forefront of the general election, set to take place on 06 May 2010. The Conservative party was initially widely expected to win – but over the course of April that outcome became less certain. The Conservatives were around 34-35 percent, they had to get up to 38-39 percent before they would a majority and all of those gains had to come off Labor.

With nearly all the votes counted, Conservatives won just over 300 seats in the 650-seat parliament, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labor party trailed at 255. Both were far short of the 326 seats needed for an absolute majority. That meant the third-place Liberal Democrats, who have secured 56 seats, had become a sought-after coalition partner. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, said the Conservatives should have the first chance to try to form a government since they have won the most votes. With no clear winner, Britain faces its first "hung parliament" - one in which no political party has an overall majority - since 1974.

Environmentalists in Britain rejoiced after the election. The Green Party won its first seat in Parliament, and the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, said his government would be the "greenest" in British history. But with opinion polls showing a decline in the public's concern about global warming, the question is whether the government will be able to implement real "green" change.

After a neck-and-neck election, on 25 September 2010 Britain's opposition Labour Party chose Ed Miliband to replace Gordon Brown as party chief. The 40-year-old former energy minister beat out his older brother, David Miliband. After a five-month race, Ed Miliband secured Labour's leadership with 50.65 percent of the vote. David Miliband, who led the contest up until the final days, finished at a narrow second with 49.35 percent.

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