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Canadians elect conservative PM

Canada’s fourth general election in seven years is well underway, and so far, it seems that voters are leaning toward the conservative candidates. Stephen Harper, who led the minority government for five years, finally took the majority in the House of Commons on May 2. He will now be able lead 167 of the 308 parliamentary seats, according to The Economist.

Harper’s government took a blow on March 25 after three opposing parties came together, leading to a vote of no confidence. However, it seems that citizens had plenty of confidence in Harper, as he was reelected to the seat of Prime Minister. Barring any other setbacks, he will remain in that seat for another four years.

The national elections saw higher voter turnout this year. Around 61.4 percent of citizens turned out to cast their vote, compared to the all-time low votership of 58.8 percent in 2008. A total of 14.7 million people filled out and submitted a ballot.

A large number of voters cast their picks early, including many who are living outside of the nation. Canadians living in the U.S. and other countries were able to vote ahead of the May 2 election date to ensure that their voice was heard.

The number of early voters casting ballots increased by 34.5 percent from the 2008 elections. Many speculated that it was these voters who decided the race, as liberal and conservative Canadians voting on election day were neck and neck in terms of numbers, according to the BBC.

Canadian citizens living abroad have strong opinions about their native countries, in part because many of their loved ones still reside north of the U.S. border. Many of these international citizens choose to send money to Canada to support their family members, and therefore rightfully have the opportunity to cast their vote in major and minor elections.

In fact, the candidate who lost to Harper, liberal Michael Ignatieff, moved back to Canada after spending time in the United States. According to the Economist, he chose to do this in order to lead the Liberal Party.

There were other surprise placements that resulted from this election. Elizabeth May became the first Green Party member to take a seat in the Parliament.