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Nicolas Asfouri / AP

Exit polls just posted for the snap election in the U.K. and the surprise is that Prime Minister Theresa May might be at risk of losing her parliamentary majority. If that's the case, there could be a coalition government — or even a new election. With 326 needed for a majority, the exit polls put:

  • Conservatives at 314, Labour at 266, SNP at 34, Liberal Democrats at 14

Here are the ways the next government could be formed:

1. A majority government can form — that could happen next if May's Conservative party defies the odds and breaks above the majority threshold of 326.

If there's no majority...

2. A coalition government can form when two or more parties join together. This happened in 2010 with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and it took five days to reach an agreement. May would continue to be Prime Minister while trying to form a majority, which she would have to do by June 13 when parliament is first set to meet — or resign, per the Cabinet Office. But, if it looks like Corbyn would be able to get a majority, he would take over as prime minister.

3. A minority government can form and try leading the government without a majority. This is rare, although there have been minority governments, in 1974 and 1996 (although this was a rarer case). A minority government would also be unlikely to last very long.

If all of that fails..

The U.K. would be in for another election.

Why it matters: This was basically a test of May's handling of Brexit — she called the election in order to expand her mandate ahead of Brexit negotiations. If anything but a majority forms, this is a massive failure for the Conservatives and will likely mean someone else will be handling those vital negotiations.

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Congress passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate voted 69-28 to pass legislation Thursday night to fund the government until February 18.

Why it matters: The move staves off a government shutdown but lawmakers still have a busy month ahead: Congress needs to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks and Democrats are trying to pass their behemoth social spending bill.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.