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May Surprises Britain with Early Elections Next June | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

London – British Prime Minister Theresa May surprised the British people on Tuesday by calling for an early election to be held on June 8, breaking her earlier promise not to call for a vote before the scheduled elections in 2020.

In her announcement delivered outside her office at 10 Downing Street, May said: “So we need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

Following May’s announcement, the Sterling pound rose against the US dollar and the Euro, after its decline post Brexit’s decision.

Britain triggered the formal “Brexit” proceedings last month. However, negotiations are not expected to start before weeks, granting May a chance to boost support for the battles she is expected to face during those negotiations.

“It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond,” she said.

It seems that May chose to hold the polls now to benefit from her Conservatives’ advancement ahead of the Labor, the main opposition party, according to an opinion poll.

A survey conducted after May’s announcement put her Conservative Party 20 points ahead of the main opposition Labor Party, a step which should strengthen her during the upcoming negotiations with the EU, expected to be very difficult.

On Tuesday, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his party welcomed May’s election plan. With this support, May is likely to win the backing of two-thirds of the parliament in a vote to introduce the legislation on Wednesday.