David Cameron has returned to 10 Downing Street as prime minister of the UK with his Conservative party winning a majority vote.
Speaking outside No 10 after visiting Buckingham Palace, he said the UK was “on the brink of something special”.
The Conservatives have 331 seats – five more than needed for a Commons majority – their first such victory since 1992.
Mr Cameron’s rivals Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have all resigned after election disappointment.
The Conservative leader is now beginning the process of putting together the new government, which will have a parliamentary majority of 12.
Senior Cabinet appointments are expected to be announced later on Friday.
Mr Cameron said he would reach out to all parts of the UK and strive to “bring the country together” in the wake of the SNP’s election landslide in Scotland – where it won 56 of the 59 seats.
The Conservatives’ victory means they will be able to govern without the need for a coalition or a formal agreement with other parties.
Mr Cameron said he had spoken to both Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg, paying tribute to the latter’s contribution to the coalition government over the past five years.
George Osborne, who is expected to remain as chancellor, said the Conservatives had been “given a mandate to get on with the work we started five years ago” and would follow the “clear instructions” of the British public.
Speaking at Labour’s London headquarters, Mr Miliband said he had phoned David Cameron to congratulate him on his victory.
He said he would step down as leader with immediate effect after Labour won 26 fewer seats than in 2010, adding that deputy leader Harriet Harman would succeed him pending a leadership contest.
David Cameron has been congratulated on his victory by a number of foreign leaders.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said he would work constructively with the new UK government and would consider “proposals, ideas or requests” about the UK’s membership “in a very polite, friendly and objective way”.