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Crucial U.K. Talks On New Government Continue

A bookmakers' representative displays the latest odds on who will be the next British prime minister outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on May 7.
Britain's two big rival political parties are continuing talks with the smaller Liberal Democrats to try to form a new government following the country's inconclusive election.

The opposition Conservatives won most seats and votes in the May 6 election, but failed to win an outright majority.

Both the Conservatives and the Labour Party of Prime Minister Gordon Brown have been trying to agree on the formation of a new government with the Liberal Democrats, who placed third.

Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg said Brown's surprise announcement on May 10 that he was stepping down as Labour Party leader was "an important element" in negotiations on a possible power-sharing deal.

Brown also announced that Labour was opening formal talks with the Liberal Democrats, while the Conservatives offered a referendum on electoral reform, a key demand of the Liberal Democrats.

compiled from agency reports