This Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May called an early election scheduled for June 8, 2017. This is much earlier than the regular election cycle in which the next general election would be in 2020.
According to her speech outside the prime minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street, the decision was made to prevent opposition parties from potentially jeopardize her government’s preparations for Brexit. “We need a general election and we need one now,” she said. “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion but now I have concluded it is the only way to guarantee certainty for the years ahead.” In other words, this election is all about the legitimacy of the national leadership. Without an early vote, Mrs. May says, “The negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election,” in 2020. She added, “Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.”
The general public, analysts and financial markets advisers are very optimistic that Mrs. May will gain a larger majority in the House of Commons and a stronger mandate based on the poll, which implies it could gain 50 more in the upcoming vote. Adding the current 330 seats in the 650 MPs, Mrs. May will get the stronger base to negotiate the Brexit.
The Guardian speculates that the timing of this election is the prime minister’s strategy in countering Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Otherwise, there is no reason to hold an early election without immediate public demand, crisis in the government or economic sector. The only possible explanation that The Guardian proposed is that the election represents a political conflict among parties. European politicians praise Mrs. May decision to call for the election. This is because it could ease negotiations between UK and EU for Brexit; however, it will not affect the approach to the talks.
Mrs. May cannot trigger the election directly under UK’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act which requires a five-year term; however, a prime minister can trigger an earlier election if two-thirds of MPs agree. It was also announced on Tuesday, that there will be a vote in the House of Commons by May for whether it will support the decision.