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Exit Polls: British Conservatives Win but Fall Short of Majority

The vote count is underway in Britain after general elections Thursday for a new parliament which then determines who can form the next government and which party leader becomes prime minister. Early indications showed the Conservative Party in the lead but without an outright majority.

Indications had been all along that no party would win an outright majority and that Britain would have its first hung parliament since 1974. Early exit polls bore that out.

David Cameron's Conservative Party was in the lead, but shy of the 326 seats needed for an outright parliamentary majority. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's incumbent Labor Party was running second and looked headed for defeat and Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats were coming in a far third with fewer seats than they had predicted. //END OPT //

One thing is certain. Whatever new government is formed in the end, it will have to deal with deep economic problems, says Professor Nicholas Barr of the London School of Economics.

"In a strange way I'm getting echoes of central and eastern Europe after the collapse of the communist system when all governments had to stabilize their economy, it didn't matter which political party was in power. Essentially they all had to do the same thing. So, there was very little room for political maneuver," Barr said.

The economy was the major concern for voters in this election, alongside other issues such as immigration.

Final results are expected some time Friday.