UK’s Blair dismisses talk of snap poll

UK’s Blair dismisses talk of snap poll

LONDON – British Prime Minister Tony Blair, due to step down later this year, dismissed talk yesterday that his successor would call a snap general election.

Blair, expected to hand over to his presumed heir finance minister Gordon Brown in July, also suggested in a newspaper interview that the brunt of public anger over the Iraq war was focused on him and may dissipate once he has gone. Blair won a third straight election for his ruling Labour Party in 2005 but disquiet over his decision to back the US-led Iraq war helped to deplete his parliamentary majority.Referring to the 2005 poll, Blair told The Observer: “Iraq was a factor then.In a sense, when I go, that goes with me.”Asked about suggestions his successor would have to call a snap poll to earn his own mandate, Blair said he expected it to be a “significant time” before the next general election.Most political analysts expect the next election in 2009.Blair had originally said he wanted to serve a full third term but opposition to the Iraq war, disillusionment with his government’s efforts to improve the public services and a string of mismanagement scandals fuelled dissent within Labour.That prompted him to say in 2006 that he would step down by September this year, although he has yet to set a date.Blair acknowledged his pre-announced departure had caused problems for Labour.Some parliamentarians are anxious that Brown will become premier without a contest and fear he lacks the charisma to beat Conservative Party leader David Cameron at the next election.So far, two left-leaning parliamentarians have said they want to challenge Brown but they stand virtually no chance of winning and some lawmakers want a government minister to run.Nampa-ReutersBlair won a third straight election for his ruling Labour Party in 2005 but disquiet over his decision to back the US-led Iraq war helped to deplete his parliamentary majority.Referring to the 2005 poll, Blair told The Observer: “Iraq was a factor then.In a sense, when I go, that goes with me.”Asked about suggestions his successor would have to call a snap poll to earn his own mandate, Blair said he expected it to be a “significant time” before the next general election.Most political analysts expect the next election in 2009.Blair had originally said he wanted to serve a full third term but opposition to the Iraq war, disillusionment with his government’s efforts to improve the public services and a string of mismanagement scandals fuelled dissent within Labour.That prompted him to say in 2006 that he would step down by September this year, although he has yet to set a date.Blair acknowledged his pre-announced departure had caused problems for Labour.Some parliamentarians are anxious that Brown will become premier without a contest and fear he lacks the charisma to beat Conservative Party leader David Cameron at the next election.So far, two left-leaning parliamentarians have said they want to challenge Brown but they stand virtually no chance of winning and some lawmakers want a government minister to run.Nampa-Reuters

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