Stalemate expected in UK
In the run-up to Britain's general election on Thursday, the Conservatives and Labour have ruled out almost all options for coalitions. Yet it still looks like neither of the two big parties will obtain a clear majority. The country is facing unprecedented political chaos, commentators fear, and predict that London's role in the EU will be further weakened.
British facing political chaos
The Brits are in for a few turbulent weeks after the elections, the daily Tages-Anzeiger predicts: "With little experience in forming coalitions and without any desire to make compromises, Britain's parties are well on the way to parliamentary chaos. They're limiting the possibilities for alliances - and consequently their room for manoeuvre after the elections - more and more. At this stage it's difficult to see who could form an alliance at all in the UK. The position of the two major parties, Labour and the Conservatives, is understandable to a certain extent. They have grown used to ruling on their own. The electoral system produced a clear situation. Britain's first-past-the-post system provided strong British governments. … But if the surveys prove right the UK will have to get ready for a period of considerable uncertainty - no matter which party comes out on top."
Government buidling a complex puzzle
The coalition negotiations after the election could prove so difficult that the country is paralysed, the conservative daily La Vanguardia fears: "The only thing that seems certain after the UK general election on Thursday is that neither of the two major parties, the Tories and Labour, will be able to rule alone. … If the predictions pan out the country faces a real enigma. This means the negotiations for forming a government will be extremely difficult, to the point of reaching an institutional deadlock. The electoral arithmetic is certainly not favourable for the Conservatives. Even if Cameron wins in numerical terms, there's still the possibility of Labour leading a majority coalition against the Conservatives to be able to rule."
EU must save Cameron from Brexit trap
David Cameron has said he will hold a referendum on Britain's remaining in the EU if he is re-elected. He'll need the help of his European partners to get out of a fix like that, the conservative daily Le Figaro comments: "So far David Cameron has pursued a confused European policy comprised of failed poker bluffs (like his opposition to Jean-Claude Juncker) and dangerous ultimatums. In view of a predominantly Eurosceptical electorate, by promising a referendum in 2017 on Britain's EU membership he runs the risk of a Brexit . ... If he wins a second mandate the Europeans will have to help him out of this mess. Because the EU needs Britain's dynamism and success model as much as it needs the German example."
London will go on playing minor role in EU
Regardless of the outcome of the election the UK will continue to play a minor role in the EU, the conservative daily the Financial Times concludes: "Just look at who was sitting at the Minsk ceasefire negotiations with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and who was not. The central powers of EU foreign policy are Germany and France. Britain is, of course, still a formal member of the EU, with interests in specific policy areas such as financial regulation. But Britain has chosen to sideline itself from most of what is going on in the EU. There are, of course, material differences between the political parties in the UK in respect of their EU policies. But the real divide is not between Labour and the Conservatives. It is between Britain and Europe."