Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is now projected to take over his role as prime minister – but Canadians voted on Monday in a federal election that requires him to work with other parties to rule in a second minority government .
The vote of the electorate returned the Liberals to power, but did not give them the four years of stability and power that would have been a majority victory.
Trudeau will need to continue working with other parties to control and pass key pieces of legislation promised to voters during the regime.
He has faced criticism from opposition parties and critics in recent weeks for calling elections amid a fourth wave of COVID-19.
Live coverage — 2021 Canadian election coverage
He billed the move as an essential opportunity for Canadians to decide which parties’ approach they would like to see in their recovery from the pandemic.
The Liberals launched a campaign focused on continued spending with no plan to balance the budget, but with major promises of $10-per-day childcare and vaccine mandates for federal workers as well as passengers on planes and trains.
All eyes will now be on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who is set to play the role of kingmaker once again and must decide whether to support the minority liberal government.
The pandemic election is the most expensive in Canadian history at an estimated $600 million, and there is speculation about whether voters will choose to exercise restraint over whichever party they elect to rule with a potential minority .
The election campaign saw a majority government in the eyes of all parties, but last-minute voting on Sunday night raised questions as to whether that would actually be possible.
Voting closes at 10 a.m. ET in BC and 9:30 p.m. ET on its way west from Quebec to Alberta.
Early results started pouring in from Atlantic Canada shortly after Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
There are already signs that federal conservatives are not picking up significant seats in the vote-rich ride, where they needed to seize big gains to oust liberals.
The Liberals are leading or projected to be elected in 151 ridings, compared to 117 for the Conservatives at 10:42 p.m. ET. The Block Quebecois are leading or predicted to win in 28 riding, with the NDP leading or projecting to win 27 riding and the Greens withthree.
more to come.