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Historic elections Thursday in the United Kingdom

A historic page turns Thursday in the United Kingdom, where; center-left Labor is expected to inflict a crushing defeat on the Conservatives who have been in power for 14 years, – the occasion of legislative elections marked by the recent surge of the hard right.

After difficult years during which the British went through Brexit, economic and social crisis, Covid, scandals and political instability – three Conservative Prime Ministers in 2022 and five since 2010 – voters only aspire 'to one thing, change.

This is no time for optimism or wild hope, but they are ready to give a chance to Keir Starmer, an austere and little-known 61-year-old Labor man, former human rights lawyer and then attorney general, before to be elected deputy only nine years ago.

He should become Prime Minister, this position going to the leader of the political party obtaining the majority of seats in the legislative elections.

Keir Starmer is neither charismatic nor very popular. He remained extremely cautious, even vague, during the campaign, so as not to compromise his party's 20-point lead over the conservatives.

His goal ? To give an image of seriousness and firmness, particularly fiscal and economic, after having refocused his party without hesitation since Jeremy's monumental failure Corbyn, positioned very left in 2019.

His promises ? Limited.

The Labor Party 'has no “magic wand”, he has already warned.

But this man of modest origins, son of a toolmaker and a nurse, talks about integrity, the sense of service in politics.

Historic elections Thursday in the United Kingdom

British Labor Party leader Keir Starmer on June 26, 2024 in Nottingham © POOL – Phil Noble

“The first thing I will do (once at the head of the government) will be to change the mentality of politics, which must be a policy at the service” of the people, he declared Tuesday, recalling the numerous scandals which have marked all these years of conservative power.

“The country first, then the party”, he repeated, as he often does.

– Seriousness and firmness –

Among the major concerns of voters, the economy, the deterioration of the public health service and immigration.

Historic elections Thursday in the United Kingdom

The leader of the nationalist party Reform UK Nigel Farage, on June 30, 2024 in Birmingham © AFP – JUSTIN TALLIS

The nationalist party Reform UK and its leader Nigel Farage, who is trying for the eighth time to be elected to the House of Commons, has made this last subject his main hobbyhorse, linking to it all the ills that the United Kingdom suffers from such as the lack of housing, the difficulty of obtaining health care in the public sector and the absence of work for some young people.

A real tribune, he entered the race last month, immediately boosting voting intentions for his party which is now hot on the heels of the Conservatives and has even overtaken them in a handful of polls.

This 60-year-old former MEP, admirer of Donald Trump and lifelong Brexiteer, has a good chance of being elected in Clacton-on-Sea, a coastal town east of London.

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister for 20 months – he succeeded Liz Truss, who was forced to resign after 44 days in Downing Street -, for his part deployed all his efforts to convince his compatriots not to offer a blank check to Labor.

He announced tax cuts, promised better days… while threatening a massive increase in taxation under a Labor government.

In vain. The conservatives risk experiencing the worst debacle in their history.

In the home stretch, this campaign played out in advance no longer seemed to interest anyone.

Rishi Sunak, a 44-year-old multimillionaire of Indian origin, often considered disconnected from the concerns of the British, continued against all odds, beginning his electoral marathon on Tuesday at 4:00 a.m., seeking to win back voters hesitating between Reform UK and the Conservative Party in constituencies where the vote will be close.

“I will fight for every vote, until the end of the campaign” he said -he insisted.

Historic elections Thursday in the United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on July 2, 2024 in London © AFP – JUSTIN TALLIS

Reform UK is fielding more than 600 candidates this year – there are a total of 650 constituencies at stake – and even though the first-past-the-post voting system favors the two major parties, Nigel Farage has not hidden his intentions: he wants to eviscerate conservatives worn out by internal divisions and make his formation the major opposition party, with the aim of winning the legislative elections of 2029.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116