The U.K. might get a referendum on Brexit — which some British officials reportedly think is a mistake — before being able to officially leave the European Union, after Prime Minister made the surprise decision to hold early elections this June.
The elections, if they go May’s way, would give the Conservative Party a mandate as EU negotiations begin. The Conservative Party has a slim majority in Parliament, but May is betting they’ll gain seats.
However, according to the New York Times, the snap election is a gamble, too:
A new election will reopen some of the country’s gravest divisions. It will give Brexit opponents another chance to soften the terms of the withdrawal from the European Union by voting for Liberal Democrat and Labour lawmakers who favor the bloc. It will give the Scottish National Party, which grabbed dozens of seats from Labour in the 2015 national election, a new chance to reissue its call for Scottish independence.
If Western democracies have learned anything over the past year, it is that elections are unpredictable. And if Mrs. May wins anything less than a commanding majority on June 8, she will be weakened.
May had repeatedly said she wouldn’t call for special elections, but she decided to after opposition in Parliament by the Labor Party and Liberal Democrats created “gridlock.” Both opposition parties are supporting the call for elections. “This election is your chance to change the direction of our country,” Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ leader said. “If you want to avoid a disastrous hard ‘Brexit,’ if you want to keep Britain in the single market, if you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance. Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”
These elections need — and are expected — to receive a two-thirds majority in a vote by lawmakers in order to proceed under UK law. However, voter fatigue may play a part as they would be the fourth major vote in the UK since 2014.