LONDON // No one party seems likely to win enough seats to command an overall majority in parliament, with about 45 of the 650 seats left to declare. Read reactions on the expected outcome from economists, traders, politicians and political analysts.
Eric Pickles, the Conservative party chairman, told Sky News "It is not just a question of whether can you cobble together the numbers, it is whether you are able to hold a government together and a broken prime minister, an unpopular prime minister, a prime minister that has patently failed, is not somebody that can hold something together." Peter Hain, the minister for Wales, told Sky News "I would hope that the Liberal Democrats would talk to the prime minister, talk to us as Labour cabinet ministers to see whether we can get a partnership government going. "It is a once in a political lifetime opportunity for the Liberal Democrats ... Our Labour government stands ready to offer it and then to invite support from others in parliament."
Peter Mandelson, the UK's minister for business "What the Liberal Democrats will know is that the only way in which they can advance their most important priority of electoral reform is through the Labour Party and not through the Conservative Party." Nick Clegg, the leader of Liberal Democrats party "This has obviously been a disappointing night for the Liberal Democrats. We simply haven't achieved what we'd hoped. "No one appears to have won emphatically. I think it would be best if everybody were to take a little time so that people get the good government that they deserve."
David Lea, Western Europe analyst, Control Risks "This is pretty much the most uncertain result you could get. I still think David Cameron will be our next prime minister, probably 65-70 per cent likelihood. I think it will be sorted out pretty fast but you won't see anything today. "If we don't have a government by Tuesday, it will be a different matter. So I think it will be sorted out over the weekend."
Wolfango Piccoli, an analyst for Eurasia Group "I think if Cameron gets 300-310 seats, he can definitely claim the mandate is there and he will probably be able to form a minority government. "If you see senior figures from the major parties taking a very aggressive tone and not conceding to each other, people may think it will take a lot longer to form a government and you could see a much more negative (market) reaction. "I think the tone so far has not been encouraging." Jonathan Tongue, the head of politics at Liverpool University, in England "I think the electorate will probably take a dim view of Gordon Brown trying to cling to office, but constitutionally there's no doubt that he is entitled to try and form a government."
Stephen Hester, chief executive at RBS "All that matters to us is that there's strong stewardship of the economy, because as we can see from Greece, getting debt under control is very important. "We will continue to work with UKFI (the body that holds Britain's bank stakes) to create an opportunity for the new government, whatever it is, to close the budget deficit by selling shares in RBS profitably."
Brian Hilliard, an economist "The current global financial turmoil puts pressure on all parties to reach a rapid agreement. The markets have been patient with the UK, waiting to see the result of the election before judging the UK's fiscal health but time is running out fast. "In our view there could easily be an attack on the pound and on UK government securities if the markets sense deadlock in the political negotiations.
David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index "We're back where we started, there was a bit of excitement when it looked like the Conservatives might get an overall majority, which briefly lifted sterling. "But now we are still looking to what the make-up of the next government (will be) and what happens on that front will continue to drive the market."
Charles Diebel, fixed income strategist at Nomura "Gilts are getting smacked but they were up a point and half earlier. The uncertainty is weighing on them and likewise on sterling. I would expect that to continue: hung parliaments in this country are historically unstable things. I can't see any comfort for gilts or sterling in the near term. "We've got a hung parliament. It's very unlikely to be resolved in a fashion that results in a clear majority at this stage."