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Well, in Great Britain anyhow:

Political leaders have headed off on the campaign trail after Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the UK general election would be held on 6 May…The three main parties – along with a host of other smaller parties – will be fighting for 650 seats, four more than currently exist because of constituency boundary changes. To secure an overall majority, a party must win at least 326 seats. If no party succeeds in doing so, the result will be a hung Parliament. After 13 years in power, Labour enters the election with a notional majority of 48 seats, meaning that a loss of 24 seats would see them lose their overall majority.

I kind of like the term “hung Parliament” – it’s one British parliamentary term we never carried on with in Canada once we established self-government and our independence here (we of course use the term “minority government” to describe a party that wins a plurality of seats but less then 50 % + 1). It doesn’t happen too often in Britain, as the BBC has felt it necessary to explain to voters what a “hung Parliament” is.

If you’re wondering, I will be cheering for the Liberal Democrats – the traditional 3rd party in Great Britain – to do well – perhaps help to hold the balance of power, though there are smaller nationalist parties in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that will probably be more likely to be in the catbird seat if the “hung Parliament” occurs, as some political observers and polls are currently predicting.


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