British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Tuesday that he was resigning as talks between the opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties appeared to be nearing a deal on forming a new government.
His statement effectively brings down the curtain on 13 years of rule by the centre-left Labour Party.
"I have informed the queen's private secretary that it's my intention to tender my resignation to the queen," Brown told reporters outside his Downing Street office.
"In the event that the queen accepts I shall advise her to invite the leader of the opposition to seek to form a government. I wish the next prime minister well as he makes the important choices for the future."
The Conservatives, whose leader is David Cameron, won the most seats and votes in last Thursday's election, beating Brown's ruling Labour party into second with the Liberal Democrats a distant third.
Brown also said he would be stepping down immediately as Labour leader.
In an immediate counter-bid from the Conservatives, chief negotiator William Hague offered a key concession to the Lib Dems in return for their support in a coalition.
The Lib Dems are already being courted by David Cameron's Conservatives, who won most seats in a parliamentary election last week but fell short of a majority.
The Conservatives shot back after Brown's statement with their own "final offer" to the Lib Dems, an invitation to include them in a formal coalition and the promise of a referendum on a limited reform of the voting system.
Labour, in power since 1997, came second in the election and the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg, a third. It is the first time since 1974 that a British election has put no party in overall control.
ReutersLast Mod: 12 Mayıs 2010, 13:28