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Conservatives look set to form next govt in UK

world Updated: May 07, 2010 18:49 IST
David Cameron

Opposition Tories led by a young David Cameron emerged the single largest party in a hung Parliament defeating Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour and were poised to form the next government possibly with support from Liberal Democrats.

Out of 624 seats declared, the Conservative party of 43-year-old Cameron won 294 seats in yesterday's general election, while Labour bagged 251 and Liberal Democrats of Nick Clegg secured 52 in the 650-member House of Commons.

History was created when two Indian-origin women -- Priti Patel (Conservative) and Valerie Vaz, sister of Labour MP Keith Vaz -- were declared elected in the polls. They will be the first Asian women MPs in the House.

The poll in the constituency of Thirsk and Malton has been postponed until May 27 due to the death of the UKIP candidate, John Boakes.

Only 25 seats are left to be declared and even if Conservatives win all of them, they will still be short of an absolute majority -- 326 seats.

Liberal Democrats leader Clegg, who has emerged as a kingmaker, said the party with the largest number of seats and votes should assume power.

Clegg said the Conservatives had the "first right to seek to govern" after the election.

"I've said that whichever party gets the most votes and the most seats, if not an absolute majority, has the first right to seek to govern either on its own or by reaching out to other parties, and I stick to that view," Clegg said.

"It seems this morning that it is the Conservative Party that has more votes and more seats though not an absolute majority."

An alliance, if not a coalition, between the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats crosses the magic figure of 326 seats.

Cameron declared that Prime Minister Brown and the Labour party had lost the mandate to rule. "Our country wants change.

That change is going to require new leadership," Cameron said and also indicated that he will enter into negotiations to determine who will form the next government.

"What will guide me will be our national interest," he said.

Brown, on the other hand, insisted that it was his duty to ensure that Britain had a 'strong, stable and principled' government, which pointed towards a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

The biggest disappointment of the election had been the fate of Liberal Democrats, whose leader Clegg was catapulted to top billing after the first of the three television debates.

The party had hoped to win over 100 seats, but was struggling to retain the number of its seats in the last House -- 62.
As per rules governing the transition of power, Brown, as Prime Minister, will have the first go at forming a coalition government.

Only when he resigns after coming to the conclusion that he and his party cannot command the confidence of the House of Commons, will Cameron be invited to attempt to form a minority government.

Brown's attempt to stay in power by cobbling a majority will be seen as morally indefensible after his leadership and the British electorate rejected his party.