Polls Close in UK Elections

Polls in the UK general election closed on Thursday night at 10 p.m. local time, with initial results to be announced later in the night and final results expected on Friday afternoon.

Around 50,000 polling stations throughout the UK were operating from 7 a.m. local time when the voting started, with party leaders losing no time in casting their own ballots.

An exit poll published as polls closed showed that Cameron's Tories are on course for victory.

The Ipsos MORI/GfK NOP poll found the Conservatives with 316 seats, Labor with 239, the Liberal Democrats with 10, SNP with 58 and UKIP with 2.

Party leaders who voted early included Conservative leader and incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron, Labor leader Ed Miliband, UKIP's Nigel Farage, Greens leader Natalie Bennett, SNP head Nicola Sturgeon, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, as well as Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, reports BBC.

No less than 50 million people are registered to vote in the elections, in which 650 MPs are chosen as well as 9,000 council members in 279 local authorities.

Mayoral elections were also held for Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough and Torbay.

A total of 3,971 candidates competed for the House of Commons, with 326 seats needed by any party for a majority. Aside from the 533 parliamentary constituencies in England, there are another 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales, and 18 in Northern Ireland.

Some UK citizens already voted ahead of Thursday via mail, and the election also marks the first time voters cast their ballots online.

It is estimated that the British elections will not only have a direct impact on the UK, but will also prove fateful for relations between the island country and Israel, as well as for the future of Jews in the UK dealing with skyrocketing anti-Semitism.

A recent poll indicated most British Jews view relations with Israel as a key factor, and consequently 69% said they would vote for Cameron given his staunch support for Israel.

His Labor rival Miliband, despite being of Jewish descent – albeit a self-declared atheist, only garnered 22% of the Jewish vote according to the poll. Miliband pushed through a symbolic but highly controversial bill to recognize the "State of Palestine" regardless of negotiations with Israel, indicating what could be expected from him as prime minister.

Aside from diplomatic relations vis-a-vis the Jewish state, trade relations are also at stake. Under Cameron, bilateral trade hit a record £2.5 billion (roughly $3.8 billion) in 2014. Conversely a Labor government is estimated as more likely to fold to far-left and Muslim pressure and significantly diminish those relations.

Labor also harshly criticized Israel as it defended itself from Hamas's third terror war against it last summer, even while Cameron repeatedly defended Israel's actions as part of its legitimate right to self-defense.

Likewise anti-Semitism was also a key voting issue for British Jews.

While Cameron has promised to fight the growing trend of hatred, Miliband has instead vowed to criminalize "Islamophobia," which critics say may be used to silence legitimate criticism of Islam and Muslim terrorism.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195134

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