Friday, May 7, 2010

FP morning brief 5/7

Labour majority ends with hung parliament

Top news: The Labour Party's 13 years of majority in the British Parliament came to an end last night with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's party losing at least 86 seats to David Cameron's Conservatives. But with no party holding an outright majority, the country is facing its first "hung parliament" since the 1970s. Brown has signalled that he will not immediately step down, saying the results show "no clear majority for any single party.” Both leaders are expected to make statements about their plans shortly.

Results are still coming in, but at this time, the Conservatives hold 298 seats. Labour came in second with 253 seats. The BBC is projecting that when the final votes are tallied, the Conservatives will hold 305 seats, still short of the 326 needed for a majority. The Liberal Democrats, who had seen a surge in their poll numbers after leader Nick Clegg's impressive performance in televised debates, came in a distant third with 54 seats so far.

Clegg admitted it was a "disappointing night" for the Lib Dems, but his party will now likely play a key role in the post-election wrangling for power. A Liberal-Conservative coalition government would put Cameron over the top.Cameron is also likely to win the support of around 10 Ulster Unions elected in Northern Ireland.

Labour is also reportedly seeking a deal with the Liberal Democrats, though such a deal would still leave Brown short of a majority. Clegg told the BBC that as the party with the highest number of votes, the Conservatives had the right to attempt to form a government first. Labour's Chief Strategist Peter Mandelson disagreed saying that the ruling party had the right to attempt to form a government if no other party gained a majority. Britain's uncodified constitutional system offers little in the way of clarity.

Markets: The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 1,000 points yesterday after erratic trading triggered a massive selloff.

  • Germany's parliament voted to approve funds for a bailout of Greece.
  • Violence continued in Athens after Greek lawmakers approved a controversial series of austerity measures.
  • West European countries called for the removal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Europe at the U.N. nonproliferation conference.
  • North Korea Kim Jong Il is returning by train to North Korea after meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing.
  • The Burmese opposition party led by imprisoned democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has disbanded in protest.
  • Amjal Kasab, convicted earlier this week for his role in the 2008 Mumbai siege, was sentenced to death.
  • A massive concrete and steel box is being placed over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The United States added three more Mexican states to its travel warning list.
  • Haitian president Rene Preval says he may stay in office three months past the end of his term.
Middle East
  • Iran's foreign minister hosted a dinner for U.N. Security Council representatives in New York.
  • Ayad Allawi, whose party won the most vote's in Iraq's March election, is demanding the right to form a government.
  • Saudi and Kuwaiti officials say they have dismantled an Iranian espionage ring.
  • President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe joined together to protest international sanctions.
  • Russian forces retook an oil tanker that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.
  • With Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as Nigeria's official president, lobbying is under way for the position of vice president.
-By Joshua Keating


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