Accessibility links

Breaking News

Britain Votes in Widely Touted Election

Today's vote considered one of most tightly-contested general elections in decades in Britain

Britons are going to the polls Thursday in one of the country's most closely fought elections in decades with voters casting ballots for members of the 650-seat parliament that will determine the formation of the next government. Indications are no party will win an outright majority and a coalition government could be in the offing.

Polls opened early throughout the country and after weeks of political campaigning, voters got their say.

Opinion polls have shown the three main parties running even, with only a few percentage points separating them.

Early on, David Cameron and his center-right Conservative Party looked set for an easy win, due largely to public disenchantment after 13 years of rule by the left of center Labor Party. But as the campaign went on, Labor leader Gordon Brown and his party clawed their way back up the opinion polls. Then, came a blow to both major parties - the sudden rise of Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, a third party that had not figured seriously on the political landscape.

Related video report by Selah Hennessy

The Clegg factor was due largely to his impressive showing in Britain's first ever TV debates. Throughout it has been clear the economy has been front and center on voters' minds.

Woman voter: "This election is about who has got the right policies that is going to lift this economy from recession and then make the lives of people better."

Man voter: "Money ... yeah … simple as that really."

But that is not the only issue.

Woman voter: "I think immigration, I think the war [in Afghanistan] - they are the two main points that I have been hearing about a lot and I think a lot of people will decide on that because it is something that affects everyday lives."

Britain's election system in which the number of districts won and not the mere popular votes won, determines who comes out on top.

A party needs to win 326 seats to get an outright parliamentary majority. Indications are the two main parties - Labor and the Conservatives - will likely not win such a majority and one or the other will find itself having to look for a coalition partner. Also likely is that Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats may then hold the balance of power in deciding who forms the next government and who becomes prime minister.