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The UK elections: Coalitions of chaos

Theresa May’s gamble to call a snap election and increase her narrow overall majority to strengthen her hand in the coming Brexit talks, and at the same time deliver coup de grace to Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has badly backfired, with a hung parliament, and leaving her in effect a walking wounded politician whose own future is now being questioned, as it was noticeable that no major Conservative political figure has come out to defend her.

Before the recent election, the Conservatives had an overall majority of 331 members of parliament, but the election results shattered this to 318 members.

The June 8, 2017 UK election results has created potential political chaos, with no party commanding an overall majority , and instead of stability and strengthening of the UK’s hands in the Brexit talks there is now uncertainty, lack of political strength with potential economic implications as the British pound has been shaken by the results. 

Broken and adrift 

The UK is now, on the surface, more broken and adrift facing a future that governing the country will be on the basis of shifting party alliances as the only way a Conservative minority government can now rule is on a vote to vote basis with an alliance with the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which will exact a heavy price for a coalition partnership.

Should she fail in this, then the Labour party will be given a chance to govern with other like-minded parties, which will include the Scottish National Party (SNP), again raising questions on what type of deals and compromises the Labour party leader have to make with the SNP concerning a second Scottish independence referendum.

The latest UK elections have shaken the political landscape and shattered perceived beliefs that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn would go into a meltdown and that the SNP will remain as the dominant party in Scotland. 

Pundits proven wrong 

On both accounts political pundits have been proven wrong, as the Labour Party has seen resurgent enthusiasm led by the much derided Jeremy Corbyn, who focused on domestic economic and social issues, and going back to Labour’s traditional support and roots, and especially on focusing on the younger voters.

This resulted in a 29 seat gain, compared with a loss of 12 seats for the Conservative party while the SNP lost 21 seats , mostly to the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Questions will be raised on why May took this high risk political gamble and lost, raising the prospect that if no coalition partnership works, whether Conservative or Labour, then the likelihood of another UK election is certain before the end of the year, as governments cannot govern, stumbling along on a vote basis. Her own future is now in doubt, as many will point out that she was not elected to the Prime Ministerial position when she took over from Cameron as Party Leader and she could have ruled with the old majority for another three years.

Dr. Mohamed A. Ramady



Voting patterns were also a major element for Labour’s success, with younger voters and those that voted to remain in the Brexit referendum opting for Labour, while the Conservatives attracted voters who voted for exit as well as an older generation of voters, although the Conservative Party lost some of these votes through an own goal when May announced plans to cut retirement benefits. Voters focused on austerity and economic issues, with Brexit and Scottish independence being a low priority and Corbyn got this right. 

Not business as usual 

One thing is certain – despite May’s short statement at the entrance of No 10 that she will pursue her policies to the benefit of all, the election results ensure that it is not going to be business as usual.

Questions will be raised on why May took this high risk political gamble and lost, raising the prospect that if no coalition partnership works, whether Conservative or Labour, then the likelihood of another UK election is certain before the end of the year, as governments cannot govern, stumbling along on a vote basis.

Her own future is now in doubt, as many will point out that she was not elected to the Prime Ministerial position when she took over from Cameron as Party Leader and she could have ruled with the old majority for another three years.

However, as they say in politics, one lives by the sword and falls by the sword, and she made a sad figure when she repeated again that her aim is form a government and to pursue “stability and strong leadership”.

On foreign affairs, countries that had put their hope on a continuing strong relationship with the Conservatives, might have reasons now to fear that this cannot be taken for granted and there might be fundamental changes in the UK’s foreign policy under a more leftist Labour government that will place more emphasis on ‘ethical ‘foreign policies, especially concerning overseas arms sales.

_________________________
Dr. Mohamed Ramady is an energy economist and geo political expert on the GCC and former Professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

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Last Update: Saturday, 10 June 2017 KSA 11:56 - GMT 08:56
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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