Britons to decide their fate; to leave or remain in EU

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In a much-heated tension between European Union and Britain, millions of Britons began voting on 23 June on whether the country should remain in the 28-nation European Union.

The vote has also pushed a financial meeting to take place between India and China to July.

More than 46 million people have registered to vote in the referendum, which asks, “Should the United Kingdom remain an EU member or leave the EU?” Polls are open till 10pm (2200hrs) IST and the results are due on 24 June.

A decision to leave the alliance, the first since EU was formed 43 years ago, could prompt other members to follow the UK’s lead and reverse a decade-long drive for European unity.

“Leave” campaigners claim only a British exit can restore power to Parliament and control immigration. The “remain” campaign led by PM David Cameron argues that Britain is safer and richer inside the EU.

The financial markets are volatile ahead of the vote, with opinion polls suggesting a tight race. The turnout is considered to be critical as there are a number of undecided voters, who might go for the status quo favouring the “remain” campaign.

Heavy showers in some parts of the country could also reduce the turnout.

In terms of leadership, a convincing vote to remain in EU could mean Cameron continues as the PM; a slim lead or a vote for exit would see him yielding to a new leader, possibly Boris Johnson.