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UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

On April 18, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early general election, bumping it up from 2020. "The British people voted a year ago to leave the European Union".

"It may give her more room to manoeuvre", one senior European Union official said of an increased May majority.

Britain is now gearing up for its third general election in seven years, which comes less than a year after the divisive referendum that decided the United Kingdom would withdraw from the EU.

She changed her mind last week - on a walking holiday with her husband - after "reluctantly" coming to the conclusion that "game-playing" over Brexit among politicians back home would make negotiating with European Union leaders much harder.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Wednesday: "We have an interest.in predictability and reliability, because we want to get this process done in the prescribed period of time and above all because we don't need upheaval in this negotiating process - either at the beginning or the end". Its lawmakers abstained during Wednesday's vote.

Political pundits in Britain are also attributing the move as a direct attack on a weakened Opposition, the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. Opinion polls give them a big lead over the Labour opposition, and May is gambling that an election will deliver her a personal mandate from voters and produce a bigger Conservative majority in Parliament.

Opinion polls put the Conservatives - who now hold 330 of parliament's 650 seats - way ahead of Labour, who have 229.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that, for May, calling the election is "the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby". The colour blue is associated with the Conservative Party.

May dismissed criticism of her decision to call voters back to polling booths for the third time in just over 24 months.

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All sides are now gearing up for the fourth major election in four years, after last June's shock referendum vote for Brexit, the 2015 general election, and the 2014 Scottish independence vote.

"It's about providing the strong and stable leadership this country needs to take Britain through Brexit and beyond, it's about strengthening our hand in the negotiations that lie ahead, and it's about sticking to our plan for a stronger Britain that will enable us to secure that more stable and secure future for this country and take the right long-term decisions for the future".

If the election goes ahead, parliament would be dissolved on May 3 and the campaign would begin in earnest, just days after European Union leaders hold a special summit to agree a negotiating strategy for Brexit on April 29.

There have been calls for TV broadcasters to "empty chair" Mrs May in election-time leaders' debates if she refuses to take part.

Speaking to The Sun, Mrs May said: "What I hope comes out of the election is support from the public to say we agree with their plan for Brexit, so that when I go into Europe I've got that backing of the British people".

The broad contours of the electoral debate likely to unfold in coming months began to emerge during Prime Ministers Questions and the debate held just ahead of the vote, as leaders and significant figures across the political spectrum sought to clarify their views.

Explaining his vote against, he said: "The key thing here is the fixed term parliament act was put in place by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to give them some sort of protection against destabilisation and a general election being called before they wanted one".

Instead of being a prime minister who took office by default, she would have her own electoral mandate that will allow her to push a Brexit deal through parliament.

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