UK election ends in hung parliament: What's next?

PHOTO: Prime Minister Theresa May with her husband Philip arrives at Buckingham Palace where she will seek the Queens permission to form a UK government, on June 9, 2017, in London.PlayVictoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images
WATCH UK elections: What happens next?

The U.K. national election has ended in a hung Parliament –- meaning that no party won an outright majority of seats. With almost all votes counted, Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party has won 318 MP seats, which is short of the 326 needed for an overall majority.

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Who is leading the country now?

Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, is still prime minister and her government continues to be in charge until a new one is formed. Some MPs, however, have called for May to resign because she called for the election to strengthen her mandate; instead, her party lost its majority in parliament.

After the election, May was left with the choice of forming a coalition government with another party -- or leading a minority government with support of another party. She seems to have chosen the latter. Speaking outside 10 Downing Street on Friday, May said that she will work with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

"What the country needs more than ever is certainty, and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons," she said, using her party's formal name. "As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular."

May's remarks made clear that she is planning to lead a minority government with backing from the DUP -- rather than entering a formal coalition with the party. If that plan becomes a reality, the DUP would not hold any ministerial posts, but provide support for the Conservative government, which would depend on DUP votes in order to hold on to power. It is still not clear what the DUP would get in return for its support.

The DUP won 10 seats in the election and would allow May a very slight majority. This alliance between Conservatives and the DUP is not new in British politics.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, which far surpassed expectations in the election, has also said that he is "ready to serve" in the event that the Conservatives cannot form a government.

Who gets the first chance to try to form a majority government?

As May's Conservative Party received the highest number of seats and is the largest party, it gets the first crack at forming a government despite not having won a majority. But nothing prevents Labour leader Corbyn from having talks and trying to make a deal at the same time.

When is the deadline for forming a government?

While there is no official deadline, May is expected to make a deal by June 13, the day the new parliament gathers for the first time.

The last time the U.K. had a hung parliament was in 2010. Back then it took five days to put together a coalition government, which saw the Conservatives rule in tandem with the Liberal Democrats.

On June 19, the government has to declare its program and the laws it would like to pass in the so-called "Queen's Speech." If the government doesn't have a majority by then, these laws might be voted down, meaning a new election could be called.

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