LONDON — What all British pollsters foresaw as the tightest election in decades turned out to be a night of triumph for incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party and a stinging defeat for the Labour opposition.
The Conservatives won 331 seats, enough to form a small majority, Labour won 232, the Scottish National Party (SNP) 56, the Liberal Democrats just eight, and only one each for the anti-Europe party UKIP and the Green Party.
Labour leader Ed Miliband, who resigned in humiliation Friday, echoed Cameron's sentiment about a united country. According to The Daily Telegraph’s Rupert Myers, Miliband "wasn't radical enough for the Left – and too weird for everyone else."
And after the overwhelming defeat of Liberal Democrats, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also resigned as party leader Friday. He said the results had been immeasurably more crushing and unkind than he expected. "For that I must take responsibility and resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats," he said.
The SNP demonstrated itself as a real force in Westminster, winning an unprecedented 56 seats. "Whatever the Government is that emerges at Westminster, they cannot ignore what has happened in Scotland," party leader Nicola Sturgeon said. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who had previously served as a parliament member and was elected again yesterday, said, "There's going to be a lion roaring tonight, a Scottish lion, and it's going to roar with a voice that no government of whatever political complexion is going to be able to ignore."
Cameron says he will campaign to remain in the EU, but he will be looking for treaty reform from the European Union, Le Monde wrote. Should his Thursday election victory bring no concessions from Brussels, the prime minister could ultimately lean on the side of a "Brexit."
Meanwhile, La Stampa chalked up Cameron's victory to the country's multi-ethnic model being healthy and far from in crisis. Although he ran a mediocre campaign that was often devoid of passion, the daily wrote, he convinced the British public that his was the right path.
Front pages focused on exit polls, with a general consensus that the day had been good to the Tories.
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