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Special report: One year to go - The race is on for Norfolk and Suffolk’s marginal seats

Bookmakers' odds for the key seats.

Bookmakers' odds for the key seats.

Archant

This region will be key to the fight for the keys to Number 10 and this time next year the national spotlight will firmly be on the East, Political editor Annabelle Dickson looks at what to expect and assesses the race for power in the marginals as the candidates and incumbents edge nearer to the finish line.

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When is the big day?

The fixed term parliament has made it an unusual campaign, with MPs and candidates knowing that the 
election date will be May 7 next year in advance.

The have been no candidates on tenterhooks waiting for David Cameron to call a surprise election.

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Who looks likely to be prime minister?

The polls put Ed Miliband ahead, but much can change in the course of the year and his lead is not big.

What are the big events in the next year?

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There is still a Queen’s Speech. The Scottish referendum will dominate September.

If the Scottish vote ‘Yes’ for independence it could be a major blow for prime minister David Cameron.

There is also a mini budget in the autumn and a main budget next March to come. Expect some big giveaways. Watch out particularly for news on the A47 in the Autumn Statement.

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Will there be television debates again?

It looks like there will be, but exactly who will be involved is still up in the air.

The Conservatives have said that “all options” are on the table. It is suggested that there could be three different debates. One for a “choice of prime minister” – between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

A second adding Nick Clegg to the line-up and a five-way debate also including UKIP’s Mr Farage and Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party.

Will there be any surprises?

As with any election campaign, expect gaffes and shocks.

No doubt politicians will be extra careful with their microphones after former prime minister Gordon Brown was left red-faced after being heckled about his views on immigration, calling the woman who had spoken to him “just a sort of bigoted woman.”

How will UKIP and the Greens do?

The two fringe parties are expected to do well in the European and local elections next month, but past elections have shown that in a general election support is not so strong. Could this year be different?

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