UK election result still in doubt as Cameron negotiates
David Cameron's Conservative Party, which won the most seats in the May 6 UK election, is furiously negotiating with the third-place Liberal Democrats for a coalition government. But the Lib Dems haven't budged on electoral reform.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron appeared to be inching closer to 10 Downing Street and a resolution of the hung parliament yielded by the British election as he resumed talks Monday on forming a coalition government.Skip to next paragraph
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Negotiations were going well, said representatives for Mr. Cameron and Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party that came in third in the May 6 election and who has the seats to make Cameron the first Conservative prime minister since John Major was ousted in 1997.
But while it was clear that Britons voted for change after 13 years of Labour Party supremacy, the failure of the Conservatives to win an outright majority has left Labour leader Gordon Brown in control at 10 Downing Street in a caretaker role. This was the first British election without a single party in the majority since 1974.
"Britain on hold" and "A nation in limbo" were the Monday morning headlines in The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. The newspapers backed the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives respectively during the election.
Predictions varied for when the two parties could ultimately reach an agreement on forming a coalition government, or on a deal to allow the Conservatives to rule as a minority administration. Some suggested that a deadline could be reached today, while others suggested that negotiations could drag on until Thursday. A "minority government" is one in which the party or coalition behind the prime minister does not have have more than 50 percent of the votes in parliament but is tolerated by the opposition.
Lib Dems won only 9 percent of seat with 25 percent of vote
While the Conservatives and Lib Dems share some ground on the economy and taxes, a stumbling block is the Liberal Democrats' desire to reform a British electoral system that gave the party just 9 percent of the seats in Parliament after it had won almost 25 percent of the popular vote. The Conservative rank and file are generally opposed to shifting the United Kingdom's "first past the post" electoral system, similar to the one used in the United States, to the proportional representation sought by the Lib Dems.