Given the particular electoral system, it will be necessary to wait until well into the early hours of Friday to have a clear official result, especially if the contest is very close.
The British vote this Thursday in the “most important in a generation” elections, from which the Parliament will come out to answer the most complex question in the country’s recent history – Brexit – and in which anything is possible.
The polling stations opened their doors at 07:00 (local and GMT) and will close at 22:00, when the exit polls will be known.
However, given the particular electoral system, it will be necessary to wait until well into the early hours of Friday to have a clear official result, especially if the contest is very close.
During the five-week campaign, polls put Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party ahead, who voted late in the morning in Westminster and posed for photographers with his dog Dilyn in his arms.
The latest YouGov poll, considered the most reliable, warned on Tuesday that all options remained open: the “Tories” may get their best result since 1987 under Margaret Thatcher or the country may once again find a fragmented parliament and eventual government. pro-European coalition.
“There is a lot of volatility among the electorate (…) and that makes things more uncertain than ever,” Chris Curtis, head of YouGov, told AFP.
In power since July but without an absolute majority, Johnson ran the risk of calling early elections in December, a dark and cold month not conducive to attracting the British to the polls, in the hope of obtaining a hegemony that allows him to fulfill his promise to remove the country from the EU on January 31.
‘I want to carry out Brexit. I want to focus on your priorities. I want to give free rein to the potential of this country, “the 55-year-old ex-chancellor told voters. “Today is our opportunity to unite as a country and put uncertainty aside so that people can get on with their lives.”
Decided by referendum with 52% of the votes in 2016, Brexit, initially scheduled for March 2019, was postponed three times due to the rejection of the parliament to the divorce agreement negotiated with Brussels.
The issue has monopolized British politics for more than three years, distressing many Britons and deeply dividing society.
– ‘A crossroads’ –
If he comes to power, his left-wing rival Jeremy Corbyn promised to negotiate a new deal keeping close trade relations between the UK and the EU and put it through a new referendum along with the possibility of simply canceling Brexit.
Corbyn voted around noon in Islington, north London, where he allowed selfies and chatted with voters.
For the conservative weekly The Spectator, these elections “are the most significant in the life of anyone born after 1945.”
«Indecision accompanied me until the last minute. Finally I voted for the least bad option, “Tippy Watson, 53, told AFP, but without identifying his vote.
For the consultant Jane Molloy, 63, tomorrow the United Kingdom will face a “great disaster” since “no one will have a majority” in the legislature.
Real estate agent Colin Anderson, 41, lamented that important issues such as “the environment or the economy have been left out” in this election dominated by Brexit.
“I am going to vote for the Conservatives just to complete Brexit, even though I am against it, but we have to move forward and give clarity to companies,” Steve Banham, a Londoner in his fifties, told AFP, illustrating his satiety with the one Johnson counts for victory.
The outcome of the elections will determine whether the country should ask for a fourth and humiliating postponement of Brexit. If Boris Johnson keeps the keys to Downing Street that he coveted all his life and had only five months. If the UK has a prime minister from the radical left and if Scotland organizes a second referendum on its independence.
And it is that to support a possible Labor government, the Scottish nationalists of the SNP would ask that London authorize a new sovereignist consultation, after which they lost in 2014.
“We are at a crossroads. The election … is truly historic, “Jeremy Corbyn said at his last rally on Wednesday night, calling on the British to vote for” hope “and” real change. “
“Together we can create a different society,” says the 70-year-old ex-unionist, who presented the most radical electoral program the country has seen in decades: he plans to renationalise many public services and implement ambitious wealth redistribution policies.