The United Kingdom will hold elections on July 4: what led Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to bring forward the elections

The United Kingdom will hold elections on July 4: what led Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to bring forward the elections
The United Kingdom will hold elections on July 4: what led Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to bring forward the elections

Image source, Reuters

Caption, Sunak made the announcement outside 10 Downing Street, the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister in London.
Article information
  • Author, Drafting
  • Role, BBC News World
  • May 22, 2024, 18:13 GMT

    Updated 1 hour

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced this Wednesday that the United Kingdom will hold early general elections on July 4.

In a statement in front of 10 Downing Street, where his official residence is located, Sunak said that he had asked King Charles III to dissolve Parliament on May 30 so that the elections can be carried out.

The British Prime Minister said he was proud of what his Conservative government had achieved and that he intended to fight for “every vote”.

The premier accepted that the country was facing “uncertain” circumstances due to events such as the war in Ukraine and the inflation that affects the pockets of the British, but assured that his government’s plan was working.

Sunak told Britons that the time had come to decide “who to trust”: “We have to decide if we want to continue building the future that you have made or risk starting from scratch.”

Caption, Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said it was “the moment the country has been waiting for.”

For the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, Sunak’s announcement is “the moment the country has been waiting for”, after a string of conservative governments that have now been in power for 14 years.

“Together, we can stop the chaos, turn the page and rebuild Britain and change our nation,” the Labor leader said just minutes after Sunak’s announcement.

This divergent view of the situation in the United Kingdom will be the center of attention during the election, according to BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley.

“Rishi Sunak will argue that the economy is improving, that his plan for the country is working, and that people should trust him to finish the job.”

Labour’s argument will be simple and one word will sum it up: change. “The party will say that the government’s plan is useless and that the time has come for something new.”

Sunak wet

Image source, Getty Images

Sunak’s announcement drew attention for the conditions under which it occurred, with the prime minister addressing Britons while getting wet in the rain and with parts of his speech drowned out by the music coming from the speaker of a protester who was near Downing Street.

BBC political correspondent Helen Catt said that the advantage of being the one who calls the elections is “the prime minister’s greatest asset”, but as was seen this Wednesday with Sunak, “it can bring disadvantages.”

“The expectation is that the premier will make the announcement in Downing Street, in front of the famous black door,” Catt explained. “But today Sunak was seen at the mercy of the weather and rowdy protesters.”

The contrast was brought by the Labor Party with the response to the announcement of the electoral advance given by Starmer, who appeared before the cameras indoors and flanked by two flags of his country.

“It won’t be the contrast the Conservatives wanted but Labor will be happy.”

Why did Sunak decide to call an election in the summer?

Image source, Getty Images

Analysis by BBC News political editor Chris Mason

With the general election, the direction of the country will be in the hands of the voters.

The prime minister announced the election date in front of 10 Downing Street while rain poured down and a protester’s music played at full volume.

The song? Things Can Only Get Bettera theme that Labor’s Tony Blair used for his 1997 campaign.

For weeks there had been growing expectations that elections would be held in the autumn, giving the prime minister at least two years in office and the chance for an economic upturn.

Image source, Reuters

Caption, Outside the Houses of Parliament after Sunak’s announcement.

But there are decisions that are made on a knife’s edge, and there have been those who have pressured Rishi Sunak to leave sooner, including deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden.

Those who defended that argument feel that things might not get much better and that the perceived desire of the electorate to have a voice soon could compound any Conservative defeat if the meeting with voters was delayed.

In other words, he had to do it now or things could get worse.

The prime minister can also say that at least some of his goals have been met or appear to be on track to be met..

The current inflation figure can be considered a success.

Of course, it is not solely due to the government’s actions.

But governments are blamed when inflation is through the roof, so it’s reasonable to expect them to try to get credit when it falls, and it has.

The broader economic picture also looks a little brighter.

Image source, Getty Images

Caption, One of the policies that has generated the most criticism of Sunak from the opposition is that of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Then there is the plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

It hasn’t happened yet, but it looks like flights could be imminent, perhaps even during the election campaign, although whether they influence voters on election day will only be known.

And so the campaign begins.

Conservatives will say over and over again: Be careful what you wish for. Labor and others will say again and again that It’s time to change.

The result will be extraordinary, no matter what happens.

If the opinion polls are generally correct, the party in government will change. If they are wrong, it will be one of the biggest surprises in recent years.

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