Voting Begins in Britain’s General Election

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Voters in 650 constituencies will elect members of the House of Commons, the lower chamber of parliament.

On Thursday, millions in Britain began to cast their votes in the general election, as around 40,000 polling stations across the country opened at 7 a.m. local time.

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Voters in 650 constituencies will elect members of the House of Commons, the lower chamber of parliament. A party must win at least 326 seats to secure a majority and be asked by the monarch, King Charles III, to form a government.

Pre-election opinion polls gave the main opposition Labour Party a 20-point lead over the Conservative Party, which has been in power for 14 years. Observers say the cost of living, healthcare, education and immigration are among the issues that matter most to voters.

Britain’s inflation rate soared to a four-decade high in 2022 as exorbitant prices for groceries, energy and rent inflicted pain on the public. Despite falling inflation in recent months, the cost of living continued to be the primary concern for people across Britain, according to an official survey in April.

Meanwhile, a recent survey showed that public satisfaction with Britain’s National Health Service fell to a record low, with long waiting times cited as a major reason.

Intriguing from the latest @YouGov MRP poll….

There are more ‘toss up’ seats than ‘likely’ Tory win seats. And zero ‘safe’ Tory seats.

That’s mad. I hate our electoral system but it will make for one fascinating election tomorrow without doubt.https://t.co/V3UFlSsxTG pic.twitter.com/aQxEhLGKwa

— Paul C of ???????????????????????????? i ???????? (@dobssi) July 3, 2024

Stuart Wilks-Heeg, a professor of politics at the University of Liverpool, told Xinhua that the general view is that the Conservatives’ record in dealing with these issues was “awful” during their 14 years in government. The Labour Party is seen as the alternative for a change, even though there is “no great enthusiasm” for Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party.

“It’s one of those pivotal moments where on those key issues, people are largely saying ‘I’ve had enough of this, it’s not good enough, it’s not working. It’s time for a change,’” he said.

The Conservative Party was recently hit by several allegations that top members placed bets on the general election date. The betting scandal further tarnished the ruling party’s image, following a string of Tory scandals, including bullying, sexual misconduct, and “partygate.” It dealt a further blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is struggling to regain the public’s trust.

A new dimension to Britain’s political landscape is the rise of Reform UK, a right-wing populist party led by Nigel Farage. Formerly known as the Brexit Party, it has overtaken the Liberal Democrats to become Britain’s third-highest-polling party ahead of the general election and has even overtaken the Conservatives in one poll.

The results of an exit poll will be released at around 10 p.m. when the polling stations close. The counting will start immediately, and most results will come out on Friday. Britain’s general election usually takes place every five years, and this election could have been held by January 2025. Sunak announced the snap general election on May 22, followed by the dissolution of the parliament on May 30. 

#FromTheSouth News Bits | UK’s longest ever health sector strike begins. pic.twitter.com/78R88KOcqr

— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) January 4, 2024

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