The British government is expected to set June 7th as the date for the forthcoming general election, one which Tony Blair’s Labour Party is bound to win. The MORI opinion poll gives Labour an unassailable lead over the second main political party, the Conservatives. Voting intentions, a month before the election, are currently stabilised at 50% for Labour, 30% for the Conservatives (also known as Tories) and 13% for the Liberal Democrats. Fringe regional parties (Scottish Nationalists, Welsh Nationalists and parties from Northern Ireland) will dispute the remaining 7%. Due to the vast lead Labour enjoys, a certain apathy is expected to set in, but even this should not affect the position of the government too greatly, because the image of the Leader of the Opposition, William Hague, is so bad. It is possible that the Conservative Party will hold an internal selection process after the election, in which Michael Portillo, a Thatcherite monetarist, would stand a good chance of being elected. A turnout of 66 % is probable for the election on June 7th, a date to be confirmed next week by the British government. In the opinion poll, the main preoccupations expressed by the public were law and order, health and education. These preoccupations reflect a rise in crime levels in the UK in recent years, although labour’s handling of the economy has been generally sound, the main reason why the public is certain to endorse Tony Blair as Britain’s Prime Minister for the next five years.
JOHN ASHTEAD, PRAVDA.RU, LONDON
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