The British parliament was officially dissolved on Monday, as a nationwide election campaign launches to determine if Gordon Brown can hang on as prime minister.
The opposition Conservative party, led by David Cameron, has consistently held an edge in recent opinion polls, but it is not clear that Cameron has a big enough lead to dislodge Brown.
Elections take place on May 6.
Brown's Labour party has been in power for 13 years, first under Tony Blair and, since 2007, with Brown as prime minister.
Brown is hoping to lead Labour to an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office.
Under the British parliamentary system, voters choose a member of parliament from each of 650 constituencies, or districts. The party with the most seats traditionally gets the first chance to form the new government.
Queen Elizabeth II, as head of state, formally dissolved parliament on Monday, a procedural step.