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Britain starts voting

world Updated: May 06, 2010 14:12 IST
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Balloting was under way in Britain on Thursday to elect a new government amid growing fears of a hung parliament.

Polling began across the country at 7 am, with people queuing up in many of nearly 50,000 voting centres.

Voting closes at 10 pm by which time the fate of about 4,150 candidates in the fray will be decided in 649 constituencies.

Election has been postponed to May 27 in one constituency where a candidate died during campaign.

More than 44 million people are eligible to vote. Preliminary results are expected early Friday.

Opinion polls say Britain is headed for a hung parliament.

The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, are hoping to return to power after 13 years of Labour government. But Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's popularity could upset political calculations.

Labour, led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, seems to be facing an uphill task.

According to the Electoral Commission, the voter turnout in 1997 was 71.4 per cent, 59.54 per cent in 2001 and 61.4 percent in the 2005 parliamentary election.