The 44 million-odd electorate of the United Kingdom returned an indecisive verdict today in the polls to the 55th Parliament. As predicated by the opinion polls and the exit poll in the first hour after voting came to an end last night, none of the parties got a clear majority.
The Conservative Party, that sits in the opposition bench in Westminster, however came on top with the maximum number of seats and votes in this election — positioning itself as the party that should get the first chance to form the new government.
As this paper goes to print, the Conservative Party had won 304 of the 650 seats in the House of Common, followed by the ruling Labor party with 257 seats and the Liberal Democrats 57 seats. Other smaller parties won 28 seats in all, with results from four more constituencies yet to be declared.
The results of these four seats would make little difference to the fact that Britain faces a hung Parliament. The last time voters in the UK gave such an indecisive verdict was in 1974. Subsequently, when Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath tried to form a minority government it collapsed within days for want of support from other smaller parties at that point in time. Britain has had five hung parliaments since the beginning of the 20th century.
As the results started pouring in since the early hours of Friday, Liberal Democrats leader was the first to address the media, where he said his party was willing to talk to Conservatives to find common ground and allow the Tories to form the next government.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown accepted this decision by the Lib Dems and said as the Conservatives have garnered maximum number of seats, it was fair on the part of Lib Dems to go to the Tories first. He however asserted that his party door would be kept open, should the liberal democrats fail to come to an agreement with the Conservatives.
Political experts and senior party members from across all parties are not expecting any major decision within the next 24-48 hours, with some even claiming it may take days before a clear picture emerges.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who was the last major party leader to address the media today said he will be making a “big, open and comprehensive” offer to the Liberal Democrats and sounded confident of heading for No.10 Downing Street soon.