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Cameron: UK needs 'decisive result'

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Conservative leader on UK polls
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Recent polls show Cameron, Brown going neck and neck
  • Cameron slams Brown's record as prime minister
  • Reports: Clegg has signaled he would speak to Conservatives first about coalition
  • New parliament due to take office on May 24

London, England (CNN) -- The tightening race to the May 6 general elections has increased the likelihood of a hung parliament in the United Kingdom, but Conservative Party leader David Cameron isn't ready to talk about striking deals yet.

"I'm a participant, I want to move the polls and get a decisive result, and there's 10 days left to get that result," he told CNN in an interview. "It can be done."

A hung parliament would result, if no party can claim a ruling majority and coalitions must be formed. Recent polls have shown a strong possibility of a hung parliament, with Cameron and the Labour Party's Gordon Brown -- who is trying to hang on to the prime minister's seat -- going neck and neck.

Cameron didn't rule out partnering up with Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg to form a coalition government, but said it wouldn't best serve the country's interests.

UK Election Blog

"We'll be responsible, we'll be reasonable, we'll act to the national interest -- but let's try to avoid that," Cameron said. "What would be better for Britain is a decisive government that can start to sort out our deficit, get on top of our debts, get the economy moving, work with Afghanistan and other allies to get Afghanistan right -- you know, decisiveness."

"Taking a long-term view would be much better for our country than the haggling and the bickering and the rest of a hung parliament," he added. "We wouldn't get things done and I think the country would suffer as a result."

Clegg has signaled that he would speak to the Conservatives first about forming a coalition if the Labour Party's share of votes came in third, according to British media reports.

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British voters do not elect the prime minister, or head of government, directly. Rather, they vote to elect a candidate representing a particular party to serve as their local parliamentary member. The leader of the party which wins the most seats is then asked by the Queen to form a government. The leader of the second largest party in the House of Commons becomes the "Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition."

Members of parliament are elected by a plurality, rather than a majority, of votes. This means that a party can win a majority of seats in the Commons without achieving an overall majority in the overall popular vote. In fact, because there are three main parties in the United Kingdom, it is extremely rare for a party to win an outright majority.

Brown -- whose personal popularity is lower than that of Cameron or Clegg -- has come out on the attack in debates, and has claimed his opponents are more about style than substance.

Cameron dismissed the notion, slamming Brown's record as prime minister.

"The substance of this election is the fact that Gordon Brown doubled the national debt. The substance is we have a budget deficit the same size as Greece. The substance is we've had the longest, deepest recession since (World War II).

Can Cameron become the UK's next leader?

"Gordon Brown's problem is the substance. Not the style. The substance is what he's left this country with."

Asked how his approach would be different than that of Brown -- who has been criticized by some for being anti-American or anti-European -- Cameron stressed he is a firm believer in maintaining candid relationships with allies.

"The relationship with the United States is hugely important, and I've always believed that all my political life," he said.

"I think the relationship we should have is one that's frank and open. I always say it's like a relationship with your oldest friend, rather than your best friend. Your oldest friend tells you the things you need to hear rather than just what you want to hear," he added. "And I think Tony Blair sometimes got that wrong."

Many Britons were turned off by the close relationship of former U.S. President George W. Bush and Tony Blair, the prime minister for much of the Bush era and who was regularly portrayed in the British media as Bush's "poodle."

Cameron said he and U.S. President Barack Obama have "gotten along very well," and that they share a common interest in resolving the war in Afghanistan and "helping to sort out the Middle East."

"We have a very common interest in Afghanistan, a huge common interest in helping to sort out the Middle East," he added. "But yes, if there are areas where we disagree, I'd always speak frankly. I think that's the only way to be."

In regards to Europe, he said, "of course it matters."

"We're leading members of the European Union, we're leading members of NATO, we should use those relationships," Cameron said. "But my argument is, you know, just because you're in the European Union doesn't mean you should accept every single thing that comes out of it. Britain is better off outside the euro. If we were in the euro, we'd probably be in some of the difficulties some of the members are in."

The British parliament was officially dissolved April 12, as a nationwide election campaign launched to determine whether Brown could maintain his role as prime minister.

Can Brown make a political comeback?

Brown's Labour party has been in power for 13 years, first under Blair and since 2007 with Brown as prime minister.

Brown is hoping to lead Labour to an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office.

The new parliament is due to take office on May 24.

CNN's Max Foster contributed to this report.

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