In a historic result, the Liberal Party of Canada, which started the 78-day campaign in a distant third place and was focused on bouncing back from a landmark collapse in 2011, rebounded to a resounding majority victory in yesterday’s election. This marked the first time in Canadian history that a party had jumped from third to first place, and the gain of 150 seats marked the single largest seat increase in any federal election campaign.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will become the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, and will command the first Liberal majority since the 2000 election. The final popular vote totals were similar to those posted in 2011 for all three major parties, with roughly 39% being won by the first place parties (Liberals in 2015 and Conservatives in 2011), 32% by the Official Opposition (Conservatives in 2015 and NDP in 2011) and around 19% by the party in third place (NDP in 2015 and Liberals in 2011). Even the final seat totals were almost exactly the same in both majority situations, with the first place parties winning 55% of the available seats on Election Night.
For the Conservatives, the loss of government led to the announcement that Stephen Harper would be stepping down as the Leader of the Conservative Party. When that caucus meets for the first time in the coming weeks, its primary task will be to select a new interim Leader of the Opposition. The party will then determine the process for electing a new permanent leader.
With 44 seats, the NDP finished with their second best result in electoral history. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of the party’s best-ever finish in 2011, and an election campaign which the New Democrats led for almost all of the first six weeks. In addition to seeing the base of its Québec caucus reduced, the party lost significant bench strength in regions across the country.
Canadians flocked to the polls, with almost 69% of electors casting a ballot, the highest total since 1993. The 42nd Parliament will also seat a lot of new faces, with 63% MPs being rookies – again a 22 year high.
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