Conservatives towards an electoral setback

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According to almost perfect results, the Conservatives lost ten councils and more than 400 seats, for the benefit of Labor but not for the benefit of the Liberal Democrats. The election, the final results of which are expected on Friday, was a test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In Northern Ireland, the first count gives Sinn Féin a clear lead. A historical turning point for the nationalists.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, weakened by scandals, suffered a massive defeat in London in local elections on Friday, 6 May, a historic turning point in Northern Ireland.

Overall, according to near-perfect results, the Conservatives lost ten councils and more than 400 seats to the advantage of Labour, but also to the Liberal Democrats, who made strong progress.

In Scotland, the nationalist SNP party is gaining ground, followed by Labor from the Conservatives in second place. Labor ranks first in Wales.

Boris Johnson spoke of “mixed” results, but said he was determined to stay in place, especially to deal with the loss of the British’s purchasing power.

Buoyed by the results in London, Labor Party leader Keir Starmer hailed a “turning point” ahead of the legislative elections scheduled for 2024.

For the BBC, election expert John Curtis reported that the Conservatives were at an electoral low point since Boris Johnson’s triumphant victory in 2019.

In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin separatists, supporters of reunification with Ireland, are still far ahead, with partial results suggesting a political earthquake in the province.

“Partygate” vs “Birget”

Although traditionally marked by very local issues and low turnout, these elections were, for the first time, the effects of the Downing Street holiday scandal, during imprisonment, a case that allowed Boris Johnson to fine.

The Conservatives are also criticized for inadequate support for families strangled by inflation, which should exceed 10% this year, according to the central bank, having been in power for 12 years.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden sought to temper these “difficult results” by placing them in line with what could be expected from the midterm election.

The popularity of Boris Johnson, 57, soon collapsed after “Partygate” in Downing Street. He has weathered the storm so far, highlights his key role in Western support for Ukraine, and says he is determined to remain in power and lead the battle for the next legislative election in 2024.

Labor, the main opposition party, hopes to take advantage of its weaknesses. But Keir Starmer, who has repeatedly called for Boris Johnson to resign, is in turn targeted by a police investigation, before a partial legislative enactment of health rules for sharing beer and curry with his team at the end of April 2021. suspected of breaking.

risk of paralysis

In Northern Ireland, where Stormont’s 90 elected members of the local assembly are renewed, the first count – which will continue on Saturday – give Sinn Féin a clear lead, with 16 of the 29 seats already at 7:15 pm GMT. 4 against the federalists of DUP.

It will be the first time that a party advocating reunification with the Republic of Ireland, in tensions since Brexit, will appear in a local assembly in the British province’s hundred-year history.

Re-elected, its vice president Michelle O’Neill spoke on Twitter of “the election of real change”.

Read also: Northern Ireland towards a historic success for the Nationalists in legislative elections

The victory in Sinn Féin, a former political demonstration of the paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA), would see its vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, take the position of head of local government, to be jointly led by the Nationalists. and federalists under the 1998 peace agreement.

This would initiate a possible redefinition of the United Kingdom: the party advocates reunification with the Republic of Ireland, even though it has withdrawn the claim in favor of social issues. The score of the Non-Aligned Center will also be examined.

There is a danger of political paralysis. The leader of the DUP federalists, Jeffrey Donaldson, reiterated that his training would refuse to participate in a new executive if the British government refused to address the difficulties posed by post-Brexit customs controls, which according to the federalists would have threatened. are the location of the province within the United Kingdom.

with AFP and Reuters

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