The Latest | The UK goes to the polls in a national election with results expected early Friday

Voters in the U.K. are casting their ballots in a national election to choose the 650 lawmakers who will sit in Parliament for the next five years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised his own party on May 22 when he called the election, which could have taken place as late as January 2025.

After 14 years in power under five different prime ministers, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ’s Conservatives are widely expected to lose to the main opposition party, the left-of-center Labour Party led by Keir Starmer. Sunak’s party has struggled to reassure voters on issues including the rising cost of living and a crisis in the National Health Service.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 10 p.m. on Thursday night. Even before in-person voting began, hundreds of thousands of people had cast their ballot by postal vote.

An exit poll commissioned by the main U.K. broadcasters will be published as soon as the polls close, giving an indication of the likely result.

Counting will begin immediately but most of the results will only be announced in the early hours of Friday.

Here’s the latest:

British voters are picking a new government on Thursday after polls opened at 7 a.m. for a parliamentary election that is widely expected to bring the opposition Labour Party to power.

Against a backdrop of economic malaise, mounting distrust of government institutions and a fraying social fabric, a fractious electorate is delivering its verdict on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, which has been in power since 2010.

The center-left Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has had a steady and significant lead in opinion polls for months, but Labour leaders have warned against taking the election result for granted, worried their supporters will stay home.

Sunak, for his part, has tried to rally his supporters, saying on Sunday that he still thought the Conservatives could win and defending his record on the economy.

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