UK elections to test national mood, strength of union

The United Kingdom is braced for local and regional elections that will deliver a report card to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government and test the strength of the country’s centuries-old union.

Ballots will take place in England, Scotland and Wales, with some 48 million people eligible to vote for candidates vying for more than 5,000 positions of power.

A seat in the UK Parliament, local council seats, and the entirety of the devolved Welsh and Scottish assemblies are among the most significant political positions and bodies that will be decided on.

Polling centres will open at 7am (06:00GMT) and close at 10pm (21:00GMT).

Results of a few races will be declared during the early hours of Friday before the rest are announced over the following three days.

Politicians and analysts, keen to gauge the electorate’s mood, will be watching the outcomes closely.

Constitutional crisis brewing

Among all the races on so-called “Super Thursday”, the Scottish Parliament elections, which threaten to unleash a major constitutional crisis for Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party, is of utmost importance.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pressing for a second vote on independence within a decade.

Her Scottish National Party (SNP) is seeking the second-ever outright majority in the 129-seat legislature in a bid to bolster her push.

But any legally binding poll would require sign-off from Johnson’s government, something the premier has signalled he would refuse.

Pre-election polls have indicated the SNP will win the election comfortably, but the majority Sturgeon wants is not guaranteed.

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