As an American, I’m used to being generally criticized for not paying attention to what’s happening outside of America. Personally, I love following international politics, and I’ve been keeping abreast of what’s happening in European elections for the past few years. The French presidential election is kind of crazy these days, with the far-right fascist Marine Le Pen polling statistically even to Jean-Luc Melenchon, a candidate endorsed by the French Communist party and a candidate who is for a 100% income tax on people earning more than €400,000 a year. I thought that the French election was going to hold all of this year’s election drama, but no. British PM Theresa May called for “snap election” in June.
British lawmakers are expected Wednesday to approve Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal to hold an election on June 8. May called the vote in a surprise announcement outside her office, 10 Downing Street, on Tuesday, despite having repeatedly denied speculation that she would call an early election in the wake of a referendum that saw a majority of Britons vote to leave the European Union in June. The next general election was not expected until 2020. The last vote was in 2015.
May, who became prime minister after her predecessor David Cameron resigned after losing the referendum, has not faced a public vote on her leadership. Speaking Wednesday, she said an early election would strengthen her at the “most crucial point” in the negotiations to leave the EU. Margaritis Schinas, the spokesman for the EU’s executive, said the Brexit negotiations would start after the election.
“I’ve taken this decision because I genuinely believe it is in the national interest,” she told the BBC. “If you look at the timetable, had the election been in 2020 we would have been coming up to the most crucial part of the negotiations, at the end of the negotiations, in what would be starting to be the run-up to a general election.”
May, of the ruling Conservative Party, triggered the two-year process to leave the EU in late March. In calling the election, she is attempting to solidify her leadership position.
“After the country voted to leave the EU, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership. Since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that,” May said on Tuesday. “I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”
Recent polls show that the Conservative Party has a commanding lead over the opposition Labour Party. The Conservative Party won a narrow majority at the 2015 election, but support for Labour has dropped since then under the divisive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Two thirds of MPs in the House of Commons must approve May’s plan for a June election.
As an outsider to the British political system, I can sort of see how May would want to consolidate her party’s support to “look stronger” in the Brexit negotiations. That being said, it feels like Britain is as much a shambolic mess as Bigly’s America.
And here’s the best hot-take for May’s call for an election.
"NOT ANOTHER ONE!"
— Jon Kay (@jonkay01) April 18, 2017
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 18, 2017
Photos courtesy of WENN.