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Nick Clegg, kingmaker with a cause

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg: Not to be a king, but to make one (via Liberal Democrats, Flickr, CC)

On Thursday, Britain votes. I am not sure the Brits like the choices they have, and I am not even sure the next British government will have much of a blast as deficit reduction will be one of its key tasks. And be honest: No politician likes deficit reduction.

It is very likely the Conservatives will win, but it is also likely that they will need the Liberal Democrats to govern. Its leader Nick Clegg has not openly spoken out who he is going to support, but my guess it will all boil down to whether David Cameron agrees on electoral reform. Until now, Mr. Cameron and other senior Conservatives have been reluctant to agree with the LibDems on this point, as getting rid of the “First Past the Post” system could hurt them badly in future elections.

But whether the Tories like it or not: If the LibDems really want to play a bigger role in future British politics, this might be the make-or-break-decision of a deal – and if they fail to agree, Labour, with someone else than the unfortunate Gordon Brown in charge, might pick up the ball. Mr. Brown has already said his party would agree to an electoral reform.

For Europe, a LibDem’s role in the government would be positive: Rightfully, there have been fears that a Torie government could bring European decision-making to a grinding hold. The LibDems could be the ones who manage to keep the balance between British interests and the European cause (and yes, I know it is funny to write about the European cause as a German right now).

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