U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May surprised her country by calling for an early general election on June 8, ABC News reports, in order to seek a strong mandate as she negotiates Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the government should call a general election,” May said in brief remarks outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. Under Britain’s Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, elections are held every five years, but the prime minister may call a snap election if two-thirds of lawmakers vote for it.
She said that since Britons voted to leave the European Union in June, the country had come together but politicians had not. She said the political divisions “risk our ability to make a success of Brexit.”
“Britain is leaving the European Union, and there can be no turning back,” May said. “Our opponents believe that because the government’s majority [in Parliament] is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.”
Her Conservative Party holds a 21 percent lead in opinion polls over the Labour Party. Read more at ABC News.