LONDON – In a dramatic bid to keep the Labor party in power, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday he will resign by September but first hopes to broker a pact with the third-place Liberal Democrats as part of a coalition government.
In his statement, Mr Brown said Britain had a “parliamentary and not presidential system” and said there was a “progressive majority” of voters. “I therefore intend to ask the Labor Party to set in train the processes needed for its own leadership election.”I would hope that it would be completed in time for the new leader to be in post by the time of the Labor Party conference. “I will play no part in that contest, I will back no individual candidate.”
In the same dramatic statement, Brown said Labor was to hold formal talks with the Liberal Democrats, who are already talking to the Conservatives, on forming a government after Thursday’s general election ended in stalemate. Brown’s decision to step down after three years in charge will be seen as an olive branch by center-left Labor to the centrist Liberal Democrats in a bid to woo them away from the center-right Conservatives.
In a statement outside Downing Street, Brown said Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had asked to begin formal coalition talks with the Labor Party and the two could form a center-left alliance. Clegg had previously said Brown’s departure would likely be a condition of any deal with Labor.