Voting is under way in the United Kingdom’s snap general election, with millions expected to deliver their verdict on the Brexit crisis engulfing British politics.
Thursday’s ballot will shape how, or whether, the UK will finally exit the European Union after months of parliamentary deadlock over how to execute the result of its 2016 referendum on membership of the bloc.
- United Kingdom snap general election underway dominated by Brexit
- India Supreme Court rejects review pleas by Muslims
- Turkey and Libya to hold joint gas exploration operations
The vote brings to an end a febrile campaign period during which Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have offered starkly different visions for resolving the impasse and rebuilding the UK after a decade of austerity.
Johnson wants to action a swift exit from the EU, while Corbyn is committed to holding a second referendum over the issue.
Polls opened at 7am (7:00 GMT) and close at 10pm local time (22:00 GMT), with final results expected by early Friday morning.
More than 45 million voters are registered to take part, but harsh weather and a general sense of weariness, brought on by this being the third election since 2015, may hamper turnout.
As leaders of the UK’s two largest parties, Johnson, 55, and Corbyn, 70, are clear frontrunners, but both have been criticised over their leadership credentials.They are fighting what has been called an “unpopularity contest”.
Brexit aside, health and social care provision, the unfolding climate crisis and law and order are among voters’ other key concerns, along with the UK’s economy, which flatlined in the three months leading up to October.
Analysts said it remained to be seen whether Britons would vote according to their views on Brexit, above all else.
“We won’t know if it’s the Brexit election until we see the results,” said Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe think-tank, citing several pro-Brexit, traditionally Labour-held constituencies as bellwethers.
“The last time in 2017, for all the talk about Brexit, it was a pretty traditional election where social class was the determining feature for how and why people voted.”
In Westminster, London’s political heart, voters were out early in the morning under grey skies.
Aicha Daidai, 28, said she was voting for the first time in 10 years to try and prevent the Conservatives from extending their decade-long grip on government.
United Kingdom snap general election underway dominated by Brexit.