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King Boris’s First Test

With the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union now set to take effect on January 31, 2020, the most important challenge facing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is negotiating his country's new relationship with the bloc. He has every incentive to keep that process as non-controversial as possible.

LONDON – Wars end when the belligerents give up fighting. The surest way for this to happen, and sometimes the least destructive, is through a decisive battle that leads to unconditional surrender. Boris Johnson’s overwhelming victory in the United Kingdom’s general election this month was such a battle. With the opposition parties completely routed, Johnson now enjoys the unlimited power bestowed on British prime ministers with large majorities. Britain’s unwritten constitution dispenses with the checks and balances in other national constitutions, allowing an absolute sovereignty to the majority in Parliament often described as “elective dictatorship.”