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Election Odds In Britain

Will British Prime Minister Tony Blair call early elections? He doesn't have to hold a vote until May, 2006, but it is widely assumed he'll call the election for the spring or, at the latest, fall of 2005. Still, speculation is growing that he might move earlier -- in the fall of 2004. There are three reasons: The Conservatives under Michael Howard are growing stronger; pressure is growing on Blair's Labour Party to raise taxes to meet its spending commitments; and the Party may not want to present another budget before the election.

But the most important reason is that Blair might want to get the British vote out of the way if it looks as if President George W. Bush will be defeated in November. Spanish voters have already booted out the Conservatives in part because of Jos? Mar?a Aznar's support for the Iraq war. Blair won't want to face the electorate as the last key war supporter left standing. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady

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