Accessibility links

Britain Enters Final Day of Campaigning Before Elections


In Britain it is the final day of campaigning before voters go to the polls Thursday and it's the tightest election the country has seen in decades.

Britain's top party leaders are taking full advantage of their last day of campaigning before Britons go to the polls.

Late Wednesday night, Labor leader Gordon Brown visited steel workers on an overnight shift.

"I don't need to tell you that this election is about the future," said Brown. "It's about the future of our industry, the future of our jobs, the future of our young people."

Mr. Brown is facing a tight election. The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, has topped the latest opinion polls. And, the Liberal Democrats -- traditionally a marginalized party in what has largely been a two-party system -- are scoring high in opinion polls.

Rodney Barker is a political academic and professor at the London School of Economics.

"The three candidates have been up to making themselves as busy as possible," explained Barker. "David Cameron, the Conservative leader, so visible that he's even worked through the night -- he hasn't slept."

Barker says this last day of campaigning is crucial, because so many Britons still have not made up their mind.

A survey published by the research group ComRes Tuesday said 2.5 million people who say they are certain to vote say they are still undecided who to vote for and more than a third of voters said it was "quite possible" they would change their mind on who to vote for by the time the polls open Thursday morning.

Rodney Barker says it is all up in the air.

"The one thing which one can say about this election -- and we haven't been able to say this for any election within living memory -- is that the only certain thing is that we cannot predict the outcome, even on the day before the poll," added Barker.

The ComRes poll shows the Conservatives winning 37 percent of votes, Labor on 29 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 26 percent.

With the votes split this way, no single party would win a majority of seats in parliament. In that case, the shape of Britain's future government will depend on coalitions.

The balance is likely to be tipped by the Liberal Democrats, but so far their leader, Nick Clegg, has refused to say whether his party would side with the Conservatives or Labor.

Barker says what this means is that it could be weeks before the composition of Britain's future government becomes clear.

"Even when we know the result of the election, we may not know what the result is in terms of government -- who will successfully make a deal with who to make what sort of government," noted Barker.

If no single party is able to win a majority of parliament seats, current Prime Minister Gordon Brown would have the right to stay in office until a new government can be formed.

XS
SM
MD
LG