[LONDON] David Cameron is poised to return as UK prime minister at the head of majority Conservative government after pulling off a surprise election victory that was helped by a near-total victory for nationalists in Scotland.
The pound jumped as projections of the final tally in the British general election indicated that the Conservatives had defied opinion polls to easily defeat Ed Miliband's Labour Party. With counting ongoing, the BBC forecast the Conservatives to take 329 of Parliament's 650 seats to Labour's 233 seats, a result that would allow Mr Cameron to ditch his Liberal Democrat coalition partner of the past five years and govern alone.
The result, if confirmed, is a vindication of Mr Cameron's campaign on his record of producing an economic recovery and cutting a record budget deficit. It also raises the prospect of a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, a core Tory pledge of the campaign, while the surge of support for the Scottish National Party poses constitutional questions over the integrity of the United Kingdom just eight months after Scots voted "No" to independence.
"It's been pretty clear for most of the night David Cameron will remain prime minister," and it now looks as if he can govern without resort to a coalition partner, John Curtice, a Strathclyde University politics professor and polling expert, said on the BBC.
"Don't be surprised if in 12 to 18 months time when the gilt has gone off the gingerbread we discover that Mr Cameron is having to deal with a rather rebellious set of backbenchers."