British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for a snap election in June. The reason behind the call is to prevent her political rivals from interfering with negotiations regarding Brexit. The snap elections will proceed if 2/3 of the British parliament ratifies the call.
Not everyone is happy with May’s idea of snap elections, particularly expats living in Germany. According to a large proportion of expats, snap elections may strengthen British politicians who are seeking to push for a hard Brexit. A hard Brexit would mean that the UK would pull out of the free market offered by partners of the EU zone, which would result in more expensive import taxes, higher tariff, and lower value for the GBP.
“I imagine the Conservatives will win by a landslide,” said a British expat living in Germany. “Their visions for the future are very scary for Brits living in Europe.”
Massive support for the Liberal Democrats
British political consultant Malcolm Sullivan who decided to live in Berlin said that there’s no doubt he will be voting for the Liberal Democrats. Sullivan states that his reason for doing so is because the party aligns with the future he wants for his homeland.
“For me, it is very much about Brexit,” he said. “I think the Liberal Democrats have done a reasonably good job of providing an opposition on that issue.”
Sullivan was originally a supporter of the Tory Party. He switched sides in 2015 when he realised that the Liberals have the power to prevent a hard Brexit from happening.
Voting for Labour
There are many who think that voting for Labour is a strategic way to ward off a hard Brexit. Rhiannon Beswick, an expat living in Frankfurt, is one of them, and she says that supporting Labour is a scheme to beat the Tory MP.
“It is a Tory area and, if anything, the voters there might be more likely to vote Liberal,” she said. “I would rather have the Liberals than the Tories. The good thing about the Lib Dems is that they are against Brexit.”
David Tunnicliffe, a British translator living in Thuringia, also thinks voting for Labour is a must to overthrow the Tories.
“If May wins she will get the freedom to choose what Brexit she wants,” he said. “And that probably means an end to freedom of movement.”
The snap elections will happen at a time when Germany’s very own federal election in the winter of 2017 is looming with political uncertainty and subsequent falling out of key members of the EU. According to a post by FXCM, the international election season in 2016 and 2017 has been hotly contested, featuring a widespread injection of nationalistic themes into ongoing political debates.
In an attempt to overthrow the Euro-skeptic Tory Party at the polls, the majority of British expats seem to be in favour of Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats trail the Conservatives in the polls, with May’s party slightly ahead in the race.
“Very real problems are going to end up being ignored,” said another expat. “Anything that Labour or the Liberal Democrats can say that goes beyond Brexit will be a plus for me.”