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Brexit for dummies: What to know if you haven’t been paying attention

Click to play video: 'This is what you need to know about the Brexit draft' This is what you need to know about the Brexit draft
WATCH: This is what you need to know about the Brexit draft – Nov 15, 2018

On June 23, 2016, 52 per cent of voters in Britain opted for the country to exit the European Union.

Now, more than two years later, British Prime Minister Theresa May is still trying to make that happen. But withdrawing from the political union has proved to be a difficult process.

READ MORE: Here’s what’s included in the draft Brexit deal

Here’s what you need to know about Brexit — what has happened, where it stands and what may happen next.

What happened in 2016, exactly?

More than 30 million U.K. residents voted in the referendum, with just more than half saying they want to leave the EU.

Politicians had promised that the results of the “yes or no” vote would dictate what action they took.

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The country has been a part of the union for more than 40 years, so leaving it means cutting some intricate ties and defining new boundaries.

WATCH: Theresa May promises to stick to Brexit promises

Theresa May’s career hangs in the balance

The prime minister’s stance on Brexit has been a constant source of controversy in British Parliament.

The Conservative Party that she heads currently has a minority government, which makes things even more risky for her. But even among her party, her draft of the deal has infuriated pro-Brexit members.

READ MORE: Brexit secretary, other U.K. ministers quit leaving Theresa May’s draft in jeopardy

WATCH: British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a huge backlash over her Brexit draft deal. Two senior cabinet ministers resigned, and as Eric Sorensen reports, May’s future in power is facing even more uncertainty. 

Click to play video: 'British PM faces possible no-confidence vote over Brexit' British PM faces possible no-confidence vote over Brexit
British PM faces possible no-confidence vote over Brexit – Nov 15, 2018

They say the agreement, which calls for close trade ties between the U.K. and the bloc, would leave Britain a vassal state, bound to European Union rules it has no say in making.

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Because May’s government has a minority, it relies on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, which also isn’t keen on her deal.

Opposition parties also signalled they would vote against the agreement.

Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May should withdraw the “half-baked” Brexit deal and that Parliament “cannot and will not accept a false choice between this deal and no deal.”

WATCH: May faces cabinet resignations as Brexit battle continues

Click to play video: 'May faces cabinet resignations as Brexit battle continues' May faces cabinet resignations as Brexit battle continues
May faces cabinet resignations as Brexit battle continues – Nov 15, 2018

That means May is currently battling to save both her Brexit plan and her job, as there have been calls for a no-confidence vote in the prime minister.

If a confidence vote is held and May loses, it would trigger a party leadership contest in which any Conservative lawmaker — except her — can run.

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The winner would become prime minister without the need for a national election.

Where does the deal stand?

While the Tory Cabinet approved the 585-page draft agreement, many said they did not fully agree with its contents. Several key members of the party have also resigned over its terms.

As BBC News explains, the deal is still not final. It needs the approval of British members of Parliament, plus the 27 other members of the EU.

WATCH: Theresa May says it’s either her plan or no plan

Click to play video: 'UK PM May: It is my deal, no deal, or no Brexit' UK PM May: It is my deal, no deal, or no Brexit
UK PM May: It is my deal, no deal, or no Brexit – Nov 15, 2018

That’s a major hurdle for May, who lacks the support of many MPs.

If Parliament supports May’s plan, an actual EU Withdrawal Agreement Deal could be put forward early next year.

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The EU is expected to vote on the contents of the deal later this month.

READ MORE: Draft Brexit deal reached more than two years after referendum

What the European Union is saying

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the draft agreement on Brexit Thursday, saying that nothing is worse than no deal.

“We have a document on the table that Britain and the EU 27 have agreed to, so for me there is no question at the moment whether we negotiate further,” Merkel said.

Merkel has said that the draft deal is a product of many negotiations and disagreements, and now it’s up to officials on both sides to review and finalize it.

— With files from The Associated Press

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