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British election: Early poll data indicates 'hung parliament'

By Doug G. Ware and Andrew V. Pestano
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British election: Early poll data indicates 'hung parliament'
A couple walk past a polling station in central London on Thursday as the country votes in an election to decide which party will hold the most seats in parliament. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

June 8 (UPI) -- British officials are counting votes cast Thursday to determine which party will hold the most seats in parliament -- even though it appears possible that no party will reach a majority.

In all, 650 members of Britain's House of Commons will be elected in the vote. A party must hold 326 parliamentary seats for a majority. Polls closed at 10 p.m. Thursday and full results are expected by Friday afternoon.

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Early exit polls indicated late Thursday that the Conservative Party will occupy the most seats (314) -- but won't meet the 326-seat majority mark. That would mean other elected parties -- Labour, Scottish National, UK Independence and Lib Dems -- would have the same number of votes.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, leader of the Conservatives, or Tories, called in April for the snap elections to seek a stronger mandate in negotiations over Brexit -- a portmanteau of "British exit" -- from the European Union. May and Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn cast their votes earlier in the day.

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"If you believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead, give me your backing to lead Britain," May said in a statement.

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"I will lead a government you can rely on. Labour will build a Britain that works for the many, not the few," Corbyn said in a statement.

In calling the snap election, May said Britain required more stability and stronger leadership, adding that the election is meant to strengthen her Brexit bargaining position.

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If a majority does not happen for any party, a "hung Parliament" would be declared and a coalition government established. Exit polls indicated early Thursday that's what will happen.

Britions voted to withdraw from the European economic bloc in a referendum last summer. British citizens decided with a 52 percent vote to leave the EU.

Other issues, such as the economy and security, rose to the forefront before the election, particularly after a deadly attack in London this month and another in Manchester last month.

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