Britain goes to poll in historic election

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-12 19:46:10|Editor: yhy
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People pass by a polling station for the general election in London, Britain on Dec. 12, 2019. Millions of voters on Thursday flocked to cast their ballots in Britain's third election in less than five years as polling stations opened across the country at 7:00 a.m. (0700 GMT). (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)

LONDON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Millions of voters on Thursday flocked to cast their ballots in Britain's third election in less than five years as polling stations opened across the country at 7:00 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Polling stations across the country will close at 22:00 p.m. (2200 GMT) on Thursday in what is the first December election since 1923.

A total of 650 members of parliament will be chosen under the first-past-the-post system from a total of 3,322 candidates who are standing for election.

The BBC will publish an exit poll at 2200 GMT to give the first real indication of the outcome.

Most results are due to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning.

Voter turnout may be affected by cold, wet and windy conditions across the country, with the Met Office warning wind gusts could reach 30 mph.

Hill snow can be expected in the north, with wind in southern and eastern parts of the UK.

Temperature wise, there will be highs of four degrees Celsius in Edinburgh, nine in Cardiff, six in Belfast and nine in London.

The election followed a busy final day on the campaign trail, in which the current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is the leader of the Conservative Party, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, zig-zagged across the country in a last-ditch push for support.

Both the Labour and Conservatives said the vote offers a stark choice between the two parties over Brexit, which has been plunged into a stalemate over the past three and a half years.

One poll shows the Brexit Party may cost the Conservative Party 16 seats, and a hung parliament is still possible as polls showed the race narrowing on the eve of the Election Day.

Johnson has warned that every vote for the Brexit Party on Thursday will increase the likelihood of Labour gaining power after a new analysis revealed that Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, could stop the Tories taking 16 seats.

The prime minister issued a direct appeal to potential Brexit Party voters, saying that they were risking the "terrifying prospect of Jeremy Corbyn moving into Downing Street."

The move came as an analysis by YouGov identified 16 Labour marginals where the Tories could fail to make a breakthrough because Farage's party was splitting the Leave vote.

YouGov said the surprise element of tactical voting and the tightening in the polls meant that a hung parliament could not be ruled out.

"This could not be more critical, it could not be tighter," Johnson said on Wednesday. "I just say to everybody the risk is very real that we could tomorrow be going into anther hung parliament."

Meanwhile, Corbyn on Wednesday launched a fierce attack in Glasgow on the prime minister's integrity, accusing him of "not telling truth" about his talks over the National Health Service, the system of public healthcare providers in Britain, with U.S. President Donald Trump in London last week.

In a big London rally on Wednesday night, the opposition leader called for a vote for "hope and real change."

The election outcome is expected to impact Brexit, business and trade and Britian's place in the world.


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