Most polls put Labour and the Conservatives close, each hovering at below 35% of the total vote. A single party needs to win at least half of the 650 seats in parliament to have a majority.

Britain may have to get used to co-ops at the top of politics. In 2010, after the last general election, a coalition was formed for the first time since 1945, between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats.

It has been an uneasy alliance. Neither has ruled out repeating the same arrangement; but the Lib Dems’ popularity has taken a pounding in the last four years, and the party is widely expected to do badly.

If no arrangement is made, some are predicting that May’s election will be just the beginning of a sorry saga:

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