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    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the Conservative Party HQ in central London, on June 9, 2017, hours after the polls closed in the British general election.

    Outcome of UK General Election Adds Uncertainty to Forthcoming Brexit Talks

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    As UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party fails to get an absolute majority in the parliament, a question arises of whether she has enough credibility to handle the Brexit talks and the level of support she will have in the newly elected parliament, experts told Sputnik on Friday.

    PARIS (Sputnik) – The UK snap general election took place on Thursday, and resulted in a so-called hung parliament, with the Conservative Party getting 318 seats, the Labour Party securing 261 seats, the Scottish National Party getting 35 seats, and the Liberal Democrats gaining 12 seats with one constituency yet to declare results. While May triggered early elections, seeking to get a more united parliament ahead of Brexit talks, set to start on June 19, she was left with even more frustration and her credibility as Brexit negotiator under question.

    Florence Faucher, a professor at the Center for European Studies at Sciences Po, told Sputnik that May might be replaced as a negotiator in the talks on UK withdrawal from the European Union.

    "She does not have personal credibility anymore. But the Brexit negotiations will not necessarily be handled by her. She strongly personalized these negotiations, her campaign, and it partially explains her defeat. But it does not change the fact that Great Britain voted for Brexit and now they need someone to negotiate it… Nothing implies that it has to be the Prime Minister who negotiates, there is a minister for Brexit, so we can expect him to take care of this case," Faucher said.

    Faucher recalled that seven weeks prior to the election May was 20 percent ahead of the Labour party, and lost almost 18 percentage points to find herself nose-to-nose with her major rival. She added that it was going to be difficult for the UK prime minister to balance between the differences that existed in her party over the conditions of the Brexit negotiations, which were always expected to be tough.

    "In any case the negotiations are going to be complicated. Theresa May surely wanted to get rid of the pressure of those in favor of 'hard Brexit' but now it is not clear if it is her who negotiates it. And now since there is no absolute majority, the compromise between those on the different sides of these negotiations has to be found," Faucher said.

    Charles de Marcilly from the Robert Schuman foundation in Brussels pointed out it was premature to make judgments of the possible impact of the UK general election results on the Brexit negotiations.

    "We do not know if the new government sticks to the same line as Theresa May, or the support she will have in the new government," De Marcilly said.

    He stressed that the campaign led by May was rather disadvantageous for her and was driven by an internal political agenda rather than the Brexit talks, and that the elevated terrorist threat cost her the votes.

    "It is true that her election campaign did not turn out in her favor. We need to stress that finally it was about the question of interior policy and less about Brexit… Regarding security – she was in charge of security in Cameron’s government, which diminished the number of police, for example, and at the same time we saw two terror attacks in Manchester and London. She is accountable for what has been done in the previous government. All this allowed her political rivals to put her in an uncomfortable position," De Marcilly said.

    The expert added that May arrived ahead of rival parties but not with the result as high as she wanted in order to have unquestioned political legitimacy.


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