Toronto, Canada:Justin Trudeau won a second term as Canada’s prime minister in an election seen as a referendum on the Liberal leader and his four-year-old government after a series of scandals.
After polls closed, Canadian broadcasters declared a Liberal minority government, which means Trudeau will have to work with other parties in order to govern.
“You did it, my friends. Congratulations,” Trudeau, 47, told supporters in Montreal early on Tuesday. “From coast to coast to coast, tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity, and they voted in favour of a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change.”
As of 11:30pm EST on Monday (03:30 GMT Tuesday), the Liberals had won 158 seats, significantly fewer than the 184 seats the party secured in 2015.
In 2015, Trudeau was the “change” candidate, backed by Canadians who were tired of nearly a decade of Conservative rule. But in the last year, he has been dogged by scandals that chipped away at his credibility, including revelations he once wore blackface.
Canada’s parliament has 338 seats, and the party that wins the majority of those seats – 170 or more – automatically forms the government and can easily pass legislation. If no party wins a majority, the parties must team up.
It is unclear which party the Liberals would join forces with to govern, with negotiations set to take place over the coming days.
The vote showed a deeply divided country with the defeated Conservatives winning the popular vote, while a resurgent separatist Bloc Quebecois made big strides in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec.
The projected results showed the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, forming Canada’s official opposition party. The Conservatives were on track for 122 seats compared with 99 in 2015.
During the campaign, Scheer, 40, said his government would “treat taxpayer dollars wisely”, cut income taxes, and balance the budget within five years. He also said he would cancel Trudeau’s carbon pricing plan, which he said was costing people too much money, even though there was a rebate.
Before the election, the NDP led by Jagmeet Singh was projected to see a “Singh surge”, but on election night the count showed the party in the mid-20s from 44 seats in 2015.
Singh thanked his campaign team and his district for re-electing him.
Trudeau, who took power in 2015 as a charismatic figure promising “sunny ways,” saw his popularity drop over old photos of him in blackface and his handling of a corporate corruption case. He will now have to rely on the New Democratic Party (NDP) to push through key legislation.
Although the NDP had a disappointing night, with the 24 seats it had won or was leading in down sharply from the 2015 election when it won 44, the party could exercise significant influence over Trudeau’s next government.