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Cameron heads new U.K. coalition government

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Steve Chiotakis: Britain has a new prime minister. Conservative David Cameron formed a fragile coalition government with rival Liberal Democrats. The conservatives claim to be more business-friendly than their political rivals — and traders seem to agree. But many political observers question the power-sharing deal that put Cameron in charge in the first place. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us live in London to talk about it right now. Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello, Steve.

Chiotakis: So the election returned some mixed results. What type of government has been formed?

Beard: It is a full coalition — two separate parties have joined to form the government. With the conservative party in the dominant position, they’ve got the jobs of prime minister, finance chief, foreign secretary. The smaller, Liberal Democrat party has the job of deputy prime minister and four other cabinet posts. Very unusal for the U.K. — we haven’t had a coalition government since the second World War. The hope is this will provide a strong, stable government to steer Britain out of the economic crisis.

Chiotakis: But still, a split, I mean how strong can it be?

Beard: Well, it’s going to be tricky, no doubt about it. These two parties are not natural bedfellows. The conservatives are right of center, business-friendly, the Liberal Democrats are rather left-wing. There’s going to be friction, possibly over the issue of bank regulation. The two party leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, have both spoken of a new politics, a new consensus to tackle Britain’s big economic problems. But I have to say the cynics are saying it may not be too long before the two governing parties are figthing like ferrets in a sack.

Chiotakis: OK, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard — that’s probably the only time you’ll ehar that phrase today. Joining us from London, Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.

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