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Hung Parliament Looms, Theresa May’s Future Uncertain in UK Election

After voting ended in Britain, exit polling showed the ruling Tories still on top but without a clear majority of seats

Theresa May’s future as Britain’s prime minister is in doubt following a surprise election outcome that saw her Conservative Party lose its majority Thursday night — and possibly, though unlikely — its control of Parliament.

The Guardian reported that, according to early tallies, the Tories now hold 311 seats in Parliament, 15 shy of the 26 needed  for a sole majority that would allow it to form a government unhindered. If the numbers hold up as counting continues, the Conservative Party will need to form a coalition with another party in order to keep control of government.

May’s chief opponent, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, called on May to resign as prime minister as election results came in. “She wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence,” Corbyn said in a statement. “I would have thought that is enough for her to go.”

But if May resigns, the Conservatives are unlikely to lose control of the government outright. Labour saw surprising gains of at least 30 seats, but that still puts it at only 260 seats as of 11 p.m. PT. If Labour formed a coalition with the parties most aligned with it, Liberal Democrats (12 seats) and the Scottish National Party (35 seats), current vote tallies show it would not be able to reach the 326 threshold needed to form a government.

Despite that, the outcome of tonight’s election was regarded as an upset, as polling in the weeks ahead of the vote showed Tories with a strong edge, and very likely to maintain or even increase their majority.

However, the election was increasingly seen by many voters and the media as something of a do-over of 2016’s contentious Brexit referendum. And May herself made several gaffes, including a highly criticized promise to repeal some of Britain’s human rights laws to deal with terrorists.

May herself has not commented on Corbyn’s call for her to resign. But speaking after she won re-election for her own seat, she indicated the party will not accept a minority coalition government. “If the Conservative party has won the most seats and most votes then, it will be incumbent that we will have that period of stability and that is what we will do,” she said.

Results are not expected to be finalized until noon GMT.

For the record: A previous version of this story misspelled Theresa May’s name.