UK election 'earthquake' jolts global media

Composite of European newspaper front pages Image copyright BBC Monitoring

The resounding victory by David Cameron and his Conservative Party which defied all predictions is making headlines around the world.

Commentators say that the party's solid majority will allow it to push through its policy plans, with some saying this could be bad news for Europe.

There is also much discussion about the rise of the nationalist SNP Party in Scotland, which is being seen as a "seismic shift" in UK politics.

The New York Times highlights a "surprisingly solid victory" for David Cameron. It says the result comes as a "shock" after polls suggested a near tie between Labour and Conservatives. Analysing his win, the paper says: "Mr Cameron had played up fears that a Labour government, reliant on support from the Scottish nationalists, would drive the country leftward and risk the nation being splintered."

A headline in The Washington Post - "British election results signal seismic political shift in Scotland" - sums up an important angle for the US media. The paper says the election will be remembered for the victorious sweep of the SNP nationalist party that "changed the face of British politics".

Image copyright The Washington Post
Image caption The Washington Post gives the elections prominence on their website

It also says that another Conservative-led government would mean "doubling down" on austerity for the British economy after years of belt-tightening, as well as a potentially divisive debate over Britain's membership in the European Union.

Image copyright Le Monde
Image caption French newspaper website Le Monde

In Europe, a top headline in Le Monde describes the outcome as an "independence tidal wave in Scotland". The online edition of France's leading centre-left daily calls SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon "the new Scottish 'Iron Lady'".

Another French daily, Le Figaro, comments on what it calls a kingdom riven by the rise of "nationalisms", where "ideological battles have been replaced by identity struggles".

Italy's Il Corriere della Sera, a leading centre-right daily, sums up the night succinctly over a picture of Prime Minister Cameron embracing his wife: "Great Britain, Cameron triumphs / Labour defeated, Miliband prepares to say goodbye".

Image copyright La Repubblica
Image caption Italian newspaper website La Repubblica

'Bad news' for Europe

Leading German news magazine Der Spiegel says Cameron's win is "Bad News fuer Europa". Commentator Christoph Scheuermann says that Mr Cameron will only have a slim majority, making him "weak" and vulnerable to blackmail.

Image copyright Spiegel Online
Image caption Germany's Spiegel Online website

Klaus Dieter Frankenberger in Frankfurter Allgemeine wonders what the Europeans will have to offer Cameron to keep Britain in the EU.

Spain's El Pais says that with this victory the Conservatives are now certain to seek a renegotiated deal with the European Union and that Paris and Berlin will now be even more concerned about the prospects of an in/out referendum on EU membership - one of David Cameron's main campaign pledges.

'Brutal' result

The Sydney Morning Herald calls the result "brutal" on both sides of the political spectrum. On the right, "a bigger party swallowed its junior partner whole", and on the left, "a smaller party bit a huge, painful chunk from its larger rival".

The Wall Street Journal considers the fate of individuals after what was a crushing defeat for some. It notes the irony of the political fortunes of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who defeated his brother to win the leadership.

Israeli paper Haaretz highlights George Galloway's comments that "Zionists will be celebrating" after his defeat.

The SNP's Mhairi Black is getting a lot of attention in media outlets across the globe after becoming the youngest British MP in 350 years. CNN has her victory as one of the top news stories on its website. A Buzzfeed article says: "Black is part of the breathtaking SNP surge in Scotland, which, at this stage, appears to have all but wiped out the Scottish Labour party." In India, the NDTV website calls her a "giant-killer".

China's view

China's state-run papers and experts appear to be confident that the poll results will have no impact on ties between London and Beijing. Zhao Chen, an expert on European affairs, tells the state-run Xinhua news agency that "Sino-British ties will maintain a good development trend no matter which party comes into power".

Image copyright Xinhua
Image caption Chinese state news agency Xinhua's website

Political commentator Zhao Lingmin in The Beijing News urges the UK not to leave the European Union. "Britain's most favourable option is not to leave the EU - rather, it should enjoy the benefits as an EU member state without being restrained by its rules. This is precisely what Britain has been doing in the past decades," he writes.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post is "intrigued" by the "increasingly important role played by the minor parties".

The paper notes that politician Alan Mak made history by becoming the first ethnic Chinese elected to the British parliament, but stresses that Mak said he has "no interest in what people in Hong Kong or China think of me".

Russia's state-owned Rossiya 24 TV said the exit poll results were "a bombshell", and a private channel, RBK business news TV, is also surprised by the Conservatives' "unexpected success". But the influential business daily Kommersant says that "Britain's Russia policy will stay the same, regardless of the outcome."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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