Britain's political future was thrown wide open after a shock exit poll indicated that UK Prime Minister Theresa May might not win a majority after Thursday's general election, casting doubt over her political future just days before Brexit negotiations were due to begin.
An exit poll commissioned by major broadcasters pointed to May's Conservatives falling short of an outright majority in the snap election she called in April. Those negotiations could now take on a very different approach.
The exit poll predicted the Conservatives would win 314 seats and the Labour Party 266, meaning no clear victor and a "hung parliament".
"The fear of higher deficits and national debt is leading to a spike in government bond yields".
The exit poll scenario is the latest jolt in the world of British politics. Although he shied away from the contest when David Cameron stepped down following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, commentators have long thought that he has his eyes set on No. 10 Downing Street.
What can not easily be delayed, however, is the date of Britain's departure from the European Union, which is due to take place exactly two years after the triggering of the Article 50 Brexit process on March 29 2019, whether or not a withdrawal deal has been reached.
"The possibility of a labour-led coalition that could trigger a much softer Brexit with access to the Single Market - or even another vote - isn't really being considered yet".
As the shock projection raised questions about how Britain will advance with its plan to leave the European Union, the pound sank by nearly 2 percent against the euro before steadying at around 1.5 percent down on the day. If she was to get a majority of 50 seats or more, job done. However, opinion polls were all over the place.
But its manifesto launch was successful and Jeremy Corbyn visibly flourished on the election stump. These exit polls have been wrong in the past.
If the final result shows no clear victor, that could put further pressure on the pound, says Samuel Tombs, analyst at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The result appeared certain to plunge the United Kingdom into another period of political uncertainty, with formal Brexit talks due to start in 10 days' time.
The Labour Party considers itself the main alternative to May's conservative vision for Britain, whereas the Liberal Democrats would like to see Britain remain part of the E.U. The SNP remains frustrated by May's earlier announcement not to grant Scotland another independence referendum anytime soon.
The Associated Press projected a loss of seats for May's conservatives.
"If the exit poll is true then Theresa May has put Brexit in jeopardy", he wrote on Twitter.
To be fair, Labour has probably not won.
May experienced a gradual slide during the campaign period, in which a wide gap between the Conservatives and Labour narrowed.
It became a hard campaign for May. Opponents dubbed it a "dementia tax".
"This election was called in order for the prime minister to gain a large majority in order for her to assert her authority", he said in London.
"The third terrorist attack on May's watch has weakened her, especially after it came to light that she had cut 20,000 police officers as home minister", Beardsley reports.
There is also a small chance Jeremy Corbyn could become PM - but only if he can secure a progressive coalition with a number of other parties.
"Now we have to wait for the results to start coming in, but markets will not like the idea of the Conservatives losing their overall majority", says Beauchamp.