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Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will resign as prime minister Friday, meaning a country that was already adrift amid the current Brexit crisis now has to replace its leader as well.

The big picture: May had presented a last-ditch effort to get her Brexit deal across the line, offering up the possibility of a second referendum. That olive branch set off a schism within her own Cabinet, punctuated by the resignation of Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, as ministers signaled throughout the week that the prime minister's political situation was deteriorating.

The state of play: May's resignation announcement comes just after the U.K. voted in the European elections, where her Conservative Party is expected to take a drubbing in the polls among pro-Brexit voters at the hands of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.

What's next: The contest for who will take over the Conservatives kicks off — Boris Johnson has already declared his interest — and the winner will be tasked with taking the next steps on Brexit. May will step down as the Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister throughout the party's leadership election process, which will begin the following week.

  • That could mean going back to the European Union to start from scratch and negotiate a new deal — but it could also mean drastic steps like a no-deal Brexit.
  • Should the no-deal option be pursued by a Brexiteer successor to May, it would likely face severe backlash in Parliament and lead to an early general election.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit

Go deeper

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

4 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

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