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Britain Votes in 'Down to the Wire' Election

Candidates for Prime Minister face off in tightest election in decades

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour party leader Ed Miliband face off on Thursday in one of the tightest elections in decades. (Photo: PA)

Voters in the United Kingdom went to the polls on Thursday in the tightest election in decades as Prime Minister David Cameron faced off with the Labour party's Ed Miliband.

"This race is going to be the closest we have ever seen," Miliband told supporters on Wednesday night. "It's going to go down to the wire."

Final opinion polls showed the Conservative party on track to receive 274 seats in Parliament, compared to Labour's 271, which indicates that neither will win the 326 required for a majority—an outcome that could politically destabilize the nation.

As Reuters explains:

If neither party wins an overall majority, talks will begin on Friday with smaller parties in a race to strike deals.

That could lead to a formal coalition, like the one Cameron has led for the past five years with the centrist Liberal Democrats, or it could produce a fragile minority government making trade-offs to guarantee support on key votes.

Additionally, the election may give further momentum to Scottish separatists, who in September rejected a vote for independence. As Common Dreams reported on Wednesday, "The separatist SNP, just months after its loss in an independence referendum, has quadrupled its membership, and could, according to one recent poll, win every single one of the 59 Scottish seats available in the election."

The Guardian is providing live updates of the election here.

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