(Reuters) – Britons began voting on Thursday in a tight election that could yield a weak government, push the world’s fifth-largest economy a step closer to leaving the European Union and stoke Scottish desires for secession.
Final opinion polls showed Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and Ed Miliband’s opposition Labour Party almost in a dead heat, indicating neither will win enough seats for an outright majority in the 650-seat parliament.
“This race is going to be the closest we have ever seen,” Miliband told supporters in Pendle, northern England, on the eve of the vote. “It is going to go down to the wire.”
Cameron said only his Conservatives could deliver strong, stable government: “All other options will end in chaos.”
The Conservatives portray themselves as the party of jobs and economic recovery, promising to reduce income tax for 30 million people while forcing through further spending cuts to eliminate a budget deficit still running at 5 percent of GDP.
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