After Fianna FÃ¡il and the True Finns, another mould-breaker?
Despite the death of Bin Laden (and what will the impact of that be for US 2012?), normal democratic politics continues. It seems that many recent elections have deserved the “historic” tag – Ireland and Finland this year, plus a clutch in 2010 including the UK, Australia and the US Midterms.
Could today’s election in Canada be about to join the list of mouldbreakers? At the start of the campaign, the assumption was of little change overall from the 2008 results, with Harper’s Conservatives once again maybe just short of the elusive 155 seats needed for a majority.
Then came the French-language debate, Quebeckers warmed to NDP leader Jack Layton, and over the Easter weekend it seemed as though Canadian politics had been transformed, with the NDP surging in the polls past the Liberals – and especially taking huge strides in Quebec; if they are to “cash out” in seats won, it will be there.
All the indications are that the NDP are on course for a best-ever result, with Layton “headed for Stornoway” as Opposition leader, the Liberals for a worse result even than the dire 2008 under the hapless Dion, and the Bloc Quebecois also set to fare very badly. The Tories look set to be by far the largest party, but again to be a minority government – although is there an outside chance of a centre-left coalition government being formed, with BQ support, to topple Harper after 5 years as a minority PM?
The poll surge reminds me very strongly of UK 2010 – but will the NDP make the seat breakthrough that the Lib Dems didn’t?
As with most countries, results will be counted at polling stations and reported upwards. Unlike Australia, there are no postals to wait for, so counting is quick – by about 8am UK time the country should be pretty much done, barring any recounts.
Note that unlike the US, Canadian results from the East are embargoed until the West has finished voting, although there is a concerted effort on Twitter to beat the ban tonight. First polls close at 12.30 UK time in Newfoundland, but all results will be officially embargoed until 10pm Eastern, 3am UK.
Two games are currently open, and will close at 7pm BST Wednesday: