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British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a minority government she said would be backed by a small Northern Irish party after she lost an election gamble days before launching talks on Britain's departure from the European Union. reports citing Reuters.

May had called the snap election confident of increasing her Conservative Party's majority to strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks, instead, her authority has been diminished.

She now risks more opposition to her Brexit plans from inside and outside her party. Some colleagues may be lining up to replace her, although a party source said the post was seen as too much of a poisoned chalice for the time being.

"She's staying, for now," the source told Reuters.

Just after noon, May was driven the short distance from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to form a government - a formality under the British system.

"As we're the party that won the most seats and most votes we are the only party in a position to form a government," May said. Her office said later that the key finance, foreign, Brexit, interior and defense ministers would remain unchanged.

The centre-right, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party's 10 seats are enough to give May's Conservatives a fragile but workable partnership, which May said would allow her to negotiate a successful exit from the EU.

"Our two parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom," May said outside her Downing Street residence.

The DUP itself said only that it would enter talks and it was not immediately clear what its demands might be. Since any deal is not expected to involve a formal coalition, such talks may not hold up the formation of government.

EU leaders expressed fears that May's shock loss of her majority would delay the Brexit talks, due to begin on June 19, and so raise the risk of negotiations failing.

"Do your best to avoid a 'no deal' as result of 'no negotiations'," Donald Tusk, leader of the EU's ruling council, wrote in a tweet.

With 649 of 650 seats declared, the Conservatives had won 318 seats. A surprise resurgence by the Labour Party gave the main opposition party 261 seats, followed by the pro-independence Scottish National Party on 34.

Labour's leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn, once written off by his opponents as a no-hoper, said May should step down and that he wanted to form a minority government.

2017.06.09 / 23:35
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