What will decide the UK's snap election ?

The British House of Commons has given the green light for the general election that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been pushing for. The vote will take place on 12 December. Prior to the decision the EU had extended the Brexit deadline until the end of January, removing the threat of a no-deal Brexit and prompting Labour to give up its opposition to an election. Commentators discuss factors that could affect the election outcome.

Open/close all quotes
De Morgen (BE) /

Brexit fatigue is the unknown factor

The opposition shouldn't get its hopes up, says De Morgen:

“Instead of committing his party to a clear position, Jeremy Corbyn dithered while his MPs contradicted each other or presented themselves as independents. In England, Labour now threatens to lose pro-European voters to the Lib-Dems, led by young, energetic Jo Swinson. ... Whether the British will go to the polls at all, whether they will make a protest vote for all sorts of populists - that will be the key question, to which polls still have no answer. 'Brexit fatigue' will be the unpredictable factor in the upcoming election.”

Fokus (SE) /

Flu epidemic could decide the outcome

Fokus speculates on how other factors could affect the election outcome:

“Last winter, Australia and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere were hit by a particularly virulent flu epidemic. Now British doctors fear Britain could face a similar scenario. The flu is likely to have the nation in its grip in December. Conservative voters are on average older than Labour supporters. However, they are also more likely to go to the polls even in bad weather. ... At the same time, because they are older they are more likely to come down with the flu. What will happen if the epidemic hits in the first week of December? ... Why shouldn't the flu decide the outcome of a December election?”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Chance for a fresh start for the whole EU

Rzeczpospolita hopes for an exit from Brexit:

“Three and a half years after the Brexiteers won the referendum, the UK's divorce from the EU is not inevitable. It can still pull back. That will happen if a pro-remain coalition made up of Labour, the Liberal Demorcrats and the Scottish National Party wins the election. ... If the Brits really put their faith in a pro-European government in December, this cannot and will not mean a return to 2016. Rather it would be an invitation to put relations between Brussels and the UK - and all other member states - on a new footing.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Good prospects for the Conservatives

Boris Johnson may emerge as the big winner from the election campaign, The Irish Times speculates:

“Thanks to the vagaries of the UK's first past the post voting system it the Brexit Party is not expected to win many, or indeed any, seats. ... Yet the Conservatives have good reason to be hopeful about a Brexit-centric election. They benefit from a clarity of message that Labour lack; Johnson should not be underestimated as a campaigner; and if they can spin it right they can push the electorate into backing the Tories who are desperately trying to deliver the will of the people versus those on the other side of the chamber who consistently try to deny it to them.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Brexit fixation would be fatal

The Financial Times warns politicians and voters against focusing solely on Brexit:

“The election may be dominated by Brexit but the campaign must answer other fundamentally important questions about the direction Britain takes over the next five years. Public services are stretched to breaking point. A winter crisis in the National Health Service looms. Some of the Labour party's pledges, such as reducing the UK's carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, would require a transformation of the economy. Focusing solely on 'getting Brexit done' would be a mistake. ... Voters deserve an honest campaign that sets out the true choices facing Britain.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A lot to be done yet

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reminds readers that the Brexit deal is only the beginning:

“The hope that things will return to normal is deceptive. The withdrawal by no means governs future relations with the EU. Further laborious negotiations on a free trade agreement as well as thousands of questions concerning the details of Britain's future coexistence with the EU will have to be clarified. The conflicts of interest, disputes, frustration and uncertainties are far from over. The economy will continue to suffer as a result. It's hard to predict who will win the election. Whatever the voters decide, it's good that finally they are in charge.”