4 Jul 2024

UK Election 2024: Who will be new PM, Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer? What are India’s stakes?

For the first time since 1945, elections are being held in Britain in July, millions of voters are voting in the general election on July 4.

Voting centers have been set up in buildings like local schools and community halls, voting will take place from 7 am to 10 pm.

4.6 crore voters will vote to elect 650 members of the House of Commons.

The election results for each seat will be declared on Thursday night or at the most by Friday morning.

To form a government in Britain, any party must have 326 seats.

All attention is focused on whether Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose party, the Conservatives, has been in power for approximately 14 years, can withstand the challenge presented by Labour Party leader Keir Starmer. Some opinion polls suggest that Labour may secure more than 400 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

Key contenders

The main contenders in the upcoming election are Sunak, who has been serving as prime minister since October 2022, leading the Conservative Party, and his primary rival, Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions in England and the leader of the Labour Party since April 2020. 

Other parties, such as the Scottish National Party advocating for Scottish independence, the Liberal Democrats, and the Democratic Unionist Party aiming to maintain ties between Britain and Northern Ireland, could play significant roles in forming a coalition government alongside the Conservatives and Labour.

What are India’s stakes? 

In terms of India's interests, New Delhi and London have been engaged in negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) for over two years to enhance trade between the two nations. However, a decisive victory for the Labour Party might impact the dynamics of these FTA discussions.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the election in May. Recently delimitations have taken place in Britain and the boundaries of constituencies have changed. This is the first election after delimitation. In this process, 10 constituencies have increased and the total seats in England have increased to 543.

In Wales, the number of seats has decreased by eight to 32, while in Scotland the number of seats has decreased from 59 to 57. In Northern Ireland, the number of seats is only 18.

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