Last week’s British general election resulted in a hung Parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election two months ago thinking that her Conservative Party would be able to increase the number of seats it had in Parliament. More seats in Parliament for her party would give her a stronger hand in challenging other political parties who oppose Brexit. It would also strengthen her hand in negotiating a Brexit agreement with the European Union. But her decision to call a snap election backfired. Instead of winning more seats, the snap election resulted in her party losing over 10 seats. Instead of losing seats, the opposition Labour Party won about 30 extra seats.
No party won a majority of seats in Parliament. That’s why Britain now has a hung Parliament. The British Parliament has 650 seats. A political party must win at least 326 seats, more than half of the total seats, to become the party that automatically forms a government. Without at least 326 seats, the party with the most seats will find it difficult to pass the laws it wants because it will not have total control of Parliament. This is called a hung Parliament. It will have to depend on the votes of smaller parties to govern. A hung Parliament comes from the expression “hung jury”, which means a jury that is unable to agree on a verdict in a criminal case.
A snap election is an election that is announced suddenly and unexpectedly. The leader of a ruling party in a parliamentary system can call a snap election if the leader thinks the election will increase the party’s seats. The US political system does not allow the president to call a snap election. But snap elections can sometimes backfire. The verb “backfire” used this way describes a plan that produces the opposite and undesirable result to what was intended. Theresa May’s snap election decision backfired because it produced the opposite and undesirable result to what she wanted. Her Conservative Party still has the most seats in Parliament but she now has a weaker hand than before the snap election in negotiating a Brexit agreement.
上星期，英國大選的結果最終帶來懸峙國會（hung Parliament）。首相文翠珊在兩個月前宣佈提前大選（snap election），以為她的保守黨有望增加在國會中的議席。她的政黨在國會中有更多議席的話，就能讓她更有力地挑戰其他反對英國脫歐的政黨，同時也能讓她跟歐盟就脫歐談判時有更大的權力。然而，她這提前大選（snap election）的決定產生了反效果（backfired）。這次提前大選（snap election）結果令她的政黨減少了超過十席，而非贏取更多席位；反對派的工黨不單沒有丟失議席，反倒進帳了額外三十個議席。
今次並沒有政黨取得國會的大多數議席，因此，英國現在有的是一個懸峙國會（hung Parliament）。英國國會下議院有六百五十席，一個政黨要至少取得多於一半議席的三百二十六席，方能自組政府。不夠三百二十六席，擁有最多議席的政黨要通過自己提出的法案時就會舉步維艱，因為它未能全權控制國會。這就叫做a hung Parliament，管治的時候需要取決於細黨的投票意向。A hung Parliament來自習語“hung jury”，意思是在刑事案中陪審團未能達成一致的判決。
A snap election就是在毫無預示下突然宣佈舉行大選。在議會制下的執政黨若認為選舉可增加政黨的議席，可以宣佈提前大選（snap election）。美國的政制就不容許總統召開提前大選（snap election）。但提前大選（snap election）有時也會擦槍走火（backfire）。動詞backfire在這裏的意思是事情非但沒按計劃發生，反倒帶來相反和不快的結果。文翠珊提前大選（snap election）的決定事與願違（backfired），因它帶來了相反和不快的結果，非她所願。她的保守黨在國會中仍然有最多議席，但在脫歐的談判桌上，反倒比提前大選（snap election）前更為弱勢了。email@example.com
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧