United Kingdom | Power and opposition kick off the electoral year

(London) Conservative British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Labor rival Keir Starmer launched the election year in the United Kingdom on Thursday, with legislative elections likely to be held in the second half of the year and could see Labor make its comeback to Downing Street .


While the date of the elections is the subject of intense speculation, the head of government indicated that he planned to call the vote in the second half of the year, ruling out at this stage the hypothesis of a vote planned for the spring without waiting for the deadline set for January 2025.

“My working assumption is that we will have a general election in the second half of this year,” the prime minister said during a visit to Mansfield, in central England.

“I want to continue the work, to manage the economy well and to reduce taxes. But I also want to continue to tackle illegal immigration,” assured the 43-year-old leader, in office for a year and three months. “So I have a lot to do and I am determined to continue to serve the interests of the British people.”

Labour, positioned on the centre-left, is currently ahead by around 18 points in the polls over the Tories, who have been in Downing Street for 14 years and weighed down by the scandals of the Boris Johnson era and the purchasing power crisis caused by inflation.

Setting the legislative elections for the beginning of May, the time of year when voting is most often held, would allow the government to make the vote coincide with local elections, and avoid it taking place on a date too close to the American presidential election.

The scenario of a vote at the end of the year would, however, give the current Prime Minister more time to hope to show results on his flagship policies, such as the very controversial one of sending migrants who arrived illegally on British soil to Rwanda.

“National renewal”

Uncertainty persists all the more as opinion polls reveal great unpopularity in power rather than real enthusiasm for Labor, and Keir Starmer recognizes that nothing is a foregone conclusion.

In his back-to-school speech in Bristol, in the west of England, he called for mobilization, saying he was “ready” to lead Labor to power and painting the portrait of a nation “tired, even desperate”.

“Britain needs change, it wants it, it demands it,” insisted the Labor leader

PHOTO JUSTIN TALLIS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Keir Starmer

“You are right to be anti-Westminster and angry at what politics has become,” he said, promising “national renewal” and attacking successive Conservative governments which, according to him, have not no “concrete achievement to highlight”.

Keir Starmer addressed those who have suffered the consequences of “the pandemic, the cost of living crisis, the challenge of Brexit and the chaos of Westminster”, after the scandals of the Boris Johnson era.

“This is your year: the opportunity to shape the future of our country is in your hands,” he stressed.

The 61-year-old former lawyer promised a “reset of the NHS”, the public health service in full decline, lower energy bills, and even an increase in the number of police officers on the streets.

“We are no longer a party of protest,” underlined the man who refocused Labor after succeeding Jeremy Corbyn in 2020, positioned more to the left and accused of having allowed anti-Semitism to flourish within the party.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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