Prime Minister Theresa May plans to seek the permission of Queen Elizabeth II to form a government even though her Conservative Party lost its majority in the House of Commons.
Downing Street says she plans to meet the queen at 12:30 p.m. local time.
The Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats in Thursday’s voting, emerged as the most likely partner to form a coalition government.
DUP leader Arlene Foster may seek concessions from May in exchange for providing the needed seats.
Foster said Friday it it would be “difficult” for May to continue in her role. “I certainly think that there will be contact made over the weekend but I think it is too soon to talk about what we’re going to do,” she said.
The Conservative Party has depended on Irish politicians before: Prime Minister John Major relied on support from the Ulster Unionist Party to shore up his tiny majority in 1992-1997.
Northern Ireland’s people voted in favour of remaining inside the European Union in the June 23 referendum last year, going against the national trend in favour of Brexit.
The DUP in general favours a “soft Brexit” rather than the “hard Brexit” sought by May, and it wants to preserve its open border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member.
May’s plan of calling an early election in the hopes of getting a bigger majority than she enjoyed during the previous parliament backfired in Thursday’s general election.
The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier appears to be giving Britain time to regroup in the wake of the Prime Minister Theresa May’s election setback and said “Brexit negotiations should start when U.K. is ready.”
The European Union has long said it’s ready to start discussions over Britain’s exit from the EU. May formally triggered the two-year Brexit departure timetable in March. The first face-to-face discussions between the British government and EU officials were due later this month.
In a tweet, Barnier said: “Timetable and EU positions are clear. Let’s put our minds together on striking a deal.”
EU Council President Donald Tusk says that Britain should look to start discussions to leave the European Union as soon as possible or it risks crashing out of the bloc with no deal.
In a tweet, Tusk said: “Do your best to avoid a ‘no deal’ as result of ‘no negotiations’.”
“We don’t know when Brexit talks start. We know when they must end,” referring to the March 2019 deadline.