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Rain-soaked Rishi Sunak calls UK general election for July 4 | News

Rain-soaked Rishi Sunak calls UK general election for July 4 |  News
Rain-soaked Rishi Sunak calls UK general election for July 4 |  News

 


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set Wednesday as July 4 as the date of national elections that will determine who will govern The United Kingdomwhile his divided and demoralized Conservative Party risks losing power after 14 years.

“The time has come for Britain to choose its future,” Sunak said in an announcement that surprised many people who had expected an election in the fall. He chose a good day economic news, in the hope of reminding hesitant voters of a relative success of his mandate.

But Sunak was drenched by heavy rain outside the prime minister's residence, and his announcement was almost drowned out by protesters chanting “Things Can Only Get Better”, a rival campaign song from the Tony Blair-era Labor Party .

Sunak's center-right party has seen its support steadily decline. Over the past two years, it has struggled to overcome a series of crises, including an economic recession, ethics scandals and a revolving door between leaders.

The center-left Labor Party is heavily favored to defeat Sunak's party. Labor leader Keir Starmer said his party would bring stability.

“Together we can end the chaos, we can turn the page, we can start to rebuild Britain and change our country,” Starmer said.

Bookmakers and pollsters see Sunak as a long-term candidate to stay in power. But he said he would “fight for every vote.”

Sunak highlighted his credentials as a leader who saved millions of jobs through child support during the Covid-19 pandemic and brought the economy under control. He said the election would be about “how and who you trust to transform this foundation into a secure future.”

The election will take place against a backdrop of a cost of living crisis and deep divisions over how to deal with migrants and asylum seekers who cross the Channel at risk from Europe.

The announcement came on the same day that figures showed UK inflation fell sharply to 2.3%, its lowest level in almost three years, thanks to a sharp fall in domestic bills.

The April cut marks the biggest progress yet on five pledges Sunak made in January 2023, including halving inflation, which had soared above 11% by the end of 2022. Sunak welcomed this new figure as proof that his plan was working.

“Today marks a major moment for the economy, with inflation returning to normal,” Sunak said on Wednesday before the election was announced. “Better days are ahead, but only if we stick to the plan to improve economic security and opportunity for all.”

Voters across the UK will choose the 650 members of the House of Commons for terms of up to five years. The party that obtains a majority in the Commons, alone or in coalition, will form the next government and its leader will be the Prime Minister.

Starmer, the former chief prosecutor of England and Wales, is currently the favourite. The party's momentum has been building since it inflicted heavy losses on the Conservatives in local elections earlier this month.

The Conservatives also lost a series of special elections for parliamentary seats this year, and two of their lawmakers recently defected to the Labor Party.

After his party's success in local elections, Starmer, 61, last week announced a program focused on economic stability after years of high inflation, as he tries to win over disillusioned voters.

He also pledged to improve border security, recruit more teachers and police officers and reduce long waiting lists at hospitals and doctors' offices across the country.

In the UK, elections must not be held more than five years apart, but the Prime Minister can choose the timing within that period. Sunak, 44, had until December to call an election. The last one was in December 2019.

Many political analysts had predicted that a fall election would give the Conservatives a better chance of remaining in power. Indeed, economic conditions could improve further, voters could feel the impact of recent tax cuts, interest rates could fall and a controversial plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda, a key policy for Sunak, could take off.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said some voters might credit Sunak for betting on an early election because it makes him look strong and bold rather than weak and indecisive . But he added that voters care about the fundamentals.

“And those fundamentals don’t look particularly good for the prime minister,” Bale said. “The economy, whatever he says, is still pretty weak. Growth is pretty anemic. Inflation has gone down, but it's still there… [and] public services are in difficulty. »

Sunak has not committed to the date of the election, saying repeatedly until midday on Wednesday that he expected it to take place in the second half of the year.

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Even though inflation has fallen, Sunak's other promises to grow the economy, cut debt, reduce waiting lists for doctors at the National Health Service and stop the influx of migrants crossing the Channel were less successful.

He struggled after taking office following Liz Truss's disastrous term, which lasted just 49 days after her economic policies shook financial markets. Truss was chosen by party members after Boris Johnson was ousted following a series of ethics scandals.

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