Source: China State Council Information Office
Nominations closed Thursday in Britain’s snap general election, giving sitting MPs and contenders their first official look at the political battles ahead.
A strict deadline of 16:00 GMT was imposed for the handing in of paperwork to election officials at town and city halls spread across the 650 parliamentary constituencies.
It was the most important stage so far in the election program that will see up to 46 million people deciding on Dec. 12 the political make-up of the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has entered the race as head of a minority Conservative government, hoping he will emerge in the early hours of Dec. 13 leading a majority government.
Standing in the way of Johnson’s return to 10 Downing Street is Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party.
Although Johnson and the Conservatives have been well ahead of all opponents in recent opinion polls, few political commentators are predicting the eventual outcome.
While the fate of Britain’s future in the European Union (EU) seen as the dominating election issue, the political parties have focused in their campaigns on the National Health Service (NHS), crime with immigration and the economy also on the election radar map.
Meanwhile, for the two big political parties, their fortunes or misfortunes will be decided by votes for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
Farage only launched the party in 2019 and has had a major impact with the party’s solid stand on wanting a hard Brexit.
Although Farage agreed not to put up Brexit Party candidates in over 300 Conservative seats, he rejected last-minute calls to stand down candidates in up to 300 other seats.
His decision risks splitting the voting among voters who backed Britain leaving the EU.
The Brexit vote will determine the outcome in dozens of seats, if the margin between Conservatives and Labour be narrow.
That could mean Johnson failing to win the overall majority he desperately craves to be able to bring Britain out of the EU in January, 2020.
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is on course to add as many as 15 MPs to the 35 it held in the last parliament.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, campaigning for the right for Scotland to decide if it wants to remain as part of the UK, will be looking at areas such as Dumfries and Galloway to boost her chances of a second independence vote.
Just south of the Scottish border, the English seat of Bishop Auckland in northeast England has become another key battleground.
Labour hope to hold onto a seat they have held since 1918 for all except a few years in the 1930s. The Conservatives are close on Labour’s heels, hoping that the 61-39 vote for Leave in the 2016 EU referendum will entice voters to switch from Labour.