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Politics

UK snap elections do not affect Brexit timetable, says Germany

The German government has expressed confidence that Brexit negotiations will not be delayed by snap elections in the UK after British MPs approved plans for a general election on June 8.

Snap elections in the UK will not lead to a delay in negotiations for Britain's departure from the European Union, said German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Wednesday.

Demmer said German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday after May announced her desire for a general election on June 8.

"The German government does not expect the election to interfere with the process of negotiations with Britain on leaving the EU," Demmer said.

May's announcement on Tuesday sent shockwaves throughout Britain's political establishment, with opposition parties vowing to contest the ruling Conservatives at the ballot box.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Berlin has "an interest … in predictability and reliability because we want to get this process done in the prescribed period of time and, above all, because we don't need upheaval in this negotiating process."

Under Britain's legal system, the prime minister must gain the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers in parliament before proceeding with the election, which May clearly secured on Wednesday.

'Effective alternative'

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party "will be offering the country an effective alternative" to May's government.

"In the last couple of weeks, Labour has set out policies that offer a clear and credible choice for the country. We look forward to showing how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain," Corbyn said in a statement following the announcement.

The announcement has also emboldened independence activists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to continue pursuing a second independence referendum while Northern Ireland's republican Sinn Fein party said it would attempt to secure a special status for the country in the EU.

ls/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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