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Cameron retains foreign, finance ministers after electoral triumph

Britain's PM Cameron has decided to keep a number of his ministers in their posts after his Conservative Party's electoral success. World leaders have congratulated Cameron on his re-election.

George Osborne and Philip Hammond will retain their positions as finance minister and foreign secretary respectively, and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Home Secretary Theresa May will also continue in their posts, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed on Friday after his victory in the UK general election.

Cameron's Conservative Party emerged victorious in the elections

, winning 331 of 650 seats in the House of Commons, which allowed the 48-year-old premier to govern Britain for another five years without the help of coalition partners.

Finance Minister Osborne had led the previous coalition's austerity program and is likely to guide through a second wave of cuts during his second term. Osborne has also been promoted to first secretary of state – technically the prime minister's number two.

Hammond faces the delicate task of Britain's negotiations with the European Union partners ahead of a proposed referendum on the country's EU membership by 2017, whereas May, who has held the home secretary's post for the past five years, will deal with the sensitive issue of immigration.

Britain's EU future

In a speech on Friday,

Cameron reiterated his promise to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership

.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Friday that Britain's cost of leaving the Union would be "considerable."

"Britain's place is in the European Union, in its own interest and in the EU's interest," Moscovici said on French Radio One.

"All economic studies show that the political and economic cost of what is called a Brexit would be considerable, and first of all for the United Kingdom," he added.

Earlier on Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk, the former center-right Polish Prime Minister, said he was "deeply convinced that there is no better life outside the European Union, for any country."

"A better EU is in the interest not only of Britain but of every member state," Tusk concluded.

'Impressive' win

In Washington, President Barack Obama congratulated Cameron on his "impressive" victory.

"I have enjoyed working closely with Prime Minister Cameron on a range of shared interests these last several years, and I look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds between our countries, as we work together on behalf of global peace, security and prosperity," the president said in a statement.

In Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk also sent out congratulatory messages to PM Cameron.

shs/bw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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