The ruling Conservative Party is on track to emerge as the largest party in parliament on the base of an exit poll published as polls closed in Britain. However, David Cameron will not have an easy time remaining in Downing Street as according to the poll he still lacks a majority of parliament members and their current coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats have lost over 80 percent of their seats.
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According to exit polls conducted for the main television channels, the Conservatives will hold 316 seats in the new parliament while Labour receiving only 239. It lost many seats it previously held in Scotland to the Scottish National Party (SNP) which in the polls is now holding 58 seats, all but one of those representing Scotland. The Liberal-Democrats who were the big winners in the 2010 election, are down to only ten seats. If they join the Conservative Party again in coalition, they will have the bare minimum of a majority with 326 members.
Exit polls are not always accurate, though in Britain they have been pretty precise in recent years. On these results, Labour Leader Ed Miliband has no chance of commanding a majority, even if he were to have some sort of alliance with the SNP, a possibility he repeatedly ruled out before the election. But Cameron's government with have a very difficult time as well, though it could slightly broaden its base a bit by adding the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland.
But though it now seems likely that the Conservatives remain in power, the implications of this election for Britain are massive. The way the SNP has swept the board in Scotland, while at the same time it seems that the Conservatives' fear campaign against a Labour government supported, or perhaps controlled by the Scots, has underlined how Britain is a divided nation. Calls for another referendum on Scottish independence are expected to be heard very soon. The English nationalist and Europhobic party, UKIP, has not done as well as the party expected, a fair chunk of its voters seems to have returned home to the Conservatives at the last moment. But Cameron has already boxed himself in with a pledge to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
Since the final result will be decided by the outcome in dozens of "marginal" seats and even by the exit poll, one or two seats moving between the blocks could change the picture, everyone will have until the morning and even then, the winner may not be known for a while.