Brexit Party set to win most UK seats in EU vote

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage poses for photographers as he arrives to vote in the European Elections, at a polling station on May 23, 2019 in Biggin Hill, United Kingdom.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Britain‘s newly-formed Brexit Party will comfortably beat the country’s two main parties in European Parliamentary elections, exit polls and early results showed Sunday, as voters expressed their frustration over the Brexit deadlock.

The projected result comes shortly after Conservative Party leader Theresa May announced her resignation as prime minister on Friday morning.

Brexit has gripped British society for more than three years, splintering both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour party into warring factions since the country’s EU referendum in June 2016.

The U.K. participated in European Parliamentary elections on Thursday after failing to leave the EU at the end of March. The exit polls are not necessarily an accurate indication of the result. A BBC projection shortly after 10 p.m. local time put the Brexit Party ahead. 

Veteran euroskeptic campaigner Nigel Farage — who is credited by some with forcing Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership — launched his new party in April, after claiming the country’s political leaders had betrayed the vote to leave. Farage’s former party UKIP (The U.K. Independence Party) gained the most U.K. seats at the 2014 European Parliamentary election.

He has promised to challenge Britain’s political leadership and fast-track the country’s departure from the bloc.

The world’s fifth-largest economy is currently due to leave the EU in October, but with Parliament split over the terms of the country’s departure, it remains unclear how — or even if — it will.

On three occasions, U.K. lawmakers refused to vote in favor of May’s much-maligned deal to leave the EU. It means an orderly exit with a deal, a no-deal departure, a general election and a second referendum that could ultimately reverse the 2016 vote to leave the bloc all remain possible over the coming months.

Voter turnout has typically been one of the EU election’s biggest challenges. But, early indications show that figure has hit 50.5% this year, up from 43% in the 2014 election.

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