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What Are Snap Elections? What to Know Ahead of June 8

Yesterday (Tuesday), UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would ask the House of Commons to approve snap elections.

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Today, they voted 522 to 13 in favor of holding the snap elections on June 8. That has many asking, "What are snap elections?"

Snap elections are elections where the date is moved up, usually to decide a pressing issue or to capitalize on an electoral opportunity. In the case of the UK, May is hoping to cash in on increased voter support for her Conservative Party and to solidify her position through an election to strengthen the negotiations of Brexit, the UK's departure from the European Union (EU).

Elections took place in May 2015 and were not expected until May 2020. With snap elections, they will now be held on June 8.

And May has a lot to gain from snap elections…

What Does Theresa May Hope to Accomplish with Snap Elections?

Previously, May was against snap elections and vowed to not have one. However, May defended her change of mind about snap elections, citing the following reasons:

  • The Labour Party threatened to vote against the final Brexit agreement
  • Opposition from the Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats
  • "Unelected" members of the House of Lords

In short, May is trying to make sure she gets a hard Brexit passed since the people voted to leave the EU.

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While snap elections are a gamble, it looks like May's Conservative Party will win big on June 8. That should help her negotiate a strong Brexit deal.

May is currently favored in polls, which will help her solidify her leadership. She came to power when the previous Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down after the Brexit vote last year. May was not elected but was uncontested. This election would allow May to be voted in as the prime minister.

Currently, the Conservative Party has a narrow majority of 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. The Labour Party has 229 seats. The snap elections will likely shift those numbers to 389 seats for the Conservative Party and just 170 seats for the Labour Party.

This shift to a large majority will allow May to negotiate a hard Brexit deal that will pass even if some in her party vote against the final agreement.

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