EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about a forthcoming UK general election was published by EurActiv on 6th April 2010.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will this morning announce a 6 May parliamentary election in the UK, which could bring down the curtain on 13 years of rule by his Labour Party.

Brown will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace today (6 April) to request a dissolution of parliament, a Labour party source said, a formality which will mark the start of a month-long campaign for one of the most unpredictable elections for almost two decades.

The Conservatives lead Labour in opinion polls but the gap has been narrowing. An ICM poll in today’s Guardian newspaper showed Labour only four points behind the Conservatives and on course to remain the largest party, albeit without an overall majority.

Support for the Conservatives is unevenly distributed in the 650 parliamentary constituencies, meaning Labour can win the most seats even if it does not capture the largest share of the vote nationally.

An inconclusive election result is rare and is the nightmare scenario for financial markets, which want a clear outcome and the promise of meaningful action to tackle a budget deficit running at almost 12% of GDP.

Failure by either of the main parties to win a majority could hand a pivotal role to the Liberal Democrats, who will be trying to maintain a bloc of around 60 MPs in parliament.

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