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UK: Defeated Labour may retain power

Mr Brown yesterday began move to start a gruelling negotiation with the leaders of the country’s third largest party, the Liberal Democrats, to explore the…

Mr Brown yesterday began move to start a gruelling negotiation with the leaders of the country’s third largest party, the Liberal Democrats, to explore the possibility of forming a coalition government.

This follows the outcome of one of Britain’s hotly contested elections that produced a hung parliament with no single party winning an outright majority.

With nearly 99 per cent of the results declared so far, Labour (with 258 seats) lost to David Cameroon-led Conservative Party (304), but is ahead of Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats (57) and other parties (29).

“What we have seen are no ordinary election results,” the prime minister said, stressing his party’s “common ground” with the Lib-Dem.

A progressives’ alliance of Labour and Lib-Dem will keep Labour in power and ends Mr Cameroon’s ambition of becoming prime minister – at least for now.

But the Lib-Dem leader said he wanted to discuss first with the Conservative leader who won the most seats before talking to the prime minister.

In British unwritten constitution’s tradition, the incumbent prime minister has the first offer to form a new government.

Mr Brown however said he understood and “completely” respected the position of Mr Clegg to talk first to Mr Cameron.

The Tory leader was short of getting an outright majority of 326 seats that would have automatically made him a prime minister.

He still has the chance of achieving his ambition, though, if he can coble an alliance with Lib-Dem or with other small parties, or if he is asked to form a minority government, in case Labour fails to form any alliance with the Lib-Dem.

Mr Cameron yesterday said he would to make a “big open and comprehensive offer” to the Lib-Dem.

Labour lost several seats in the elections that saw some of its ministers, such as ex-home secretary Jacqui Smith and under secretary for department of communities and local government Shahid Malik, losing their seats.

But it performed much better than expected, as some earlier forecasts even put it in third place after Lib-Dem, which actually performed much below expectation.


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