EYEAFRICA TV: Britons went to the polls today, Thursday in the shadow of terrorism, in an election Prime Minister Theresa May once expected to win easily but has proved increasingly hard to predict.
Polls opened at 7:00am (0600 GMT) and will close at 10:00pm.
The election is May’s first since taking office after Britons voted by 52 percent to leave the European Union, plunging their country into an uncertain future.
Security on voting day is tense following the London attack, with the city’s Metropolitan Police force implementing a “specialist and highly flexible operation” which it said could be deployed as needed.
Campaigning was twice suspended in the aftermath of the attacks, which May blamed on “evil” Islamist ideology.
Islamist attacks in London and Manchester have put her under pressure over her six years as interior minister, while campaign missteps have dented her reputation as a safe pair of hands.
When May called the snap vote in April, presenting herself as the strong leader to take Britain into Brexit talks, opinion poll ratings for the premier and her centre-right Conservative party were sky high.
Meanwhile opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-war campaigner deemed unelectable by a majority of his own lawmakers, has run an energetic campaign promising change and an end to austerity.
While May has been touring target seats around the country, delivering slogan-heavy speeches to small groups of hand-picked activists, Corbyn has drawn large crowds to open-air rallies.
Most still expect a Conservative victory, predictions of the margin vary widely, and one shock forecast model even predicted May could lose her majority of 17 in the 650-seat House of Commons.
May has accused Corbyn of being unprepared for negotiations set to begin on June 19, and unwilling to curb mass migration — a key driver of the Brexit vote.
Corbyn, a 68-year-old leftwinger who has never held ministerial office and defied the odds to win the Labour leadership two years ago, urged supporters in Glasgow to think big.
But May also faced uncomfortable questions over cuts to police numbers during her time as interior minister, amid accusations that the attackers in Manchester and London Bridge had slipped through the intelligence net.
Exit poll will give an indication of the Outcome and final results will not emerge until early Friday.