Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manitoba's Tories win huge majority ending the long NDP reign

As expected, the ruling New Democratic Party(NDP) in Manitoba led by Greg Selinger lost power last night as the Progressive Conservatives(PC), under leader Brian Pallister won a huge majority.

The polls just before the election were not too far off the actual result. The CBC Poll Tracker had predicted from an average of polls that the PCs would win 42 seats whereas they actually won 40. The NDP were expected only to win 11 but they won 14. The Liberals were predicted to win 4 and won 3. In 2011, NDP won 37 seats while the Conservatives managed just 19, and the Liberals just a single seat. The Greens did not win any seats but came close in one.
Greg Selinger, resigned as leader of the NDP after the results were announced. Selinger was re-elected as MLA for St. Boniface by a considerable margin but given that the NDP only won a little over a third what it had at dissolution he no doubt felt he should resign. He said: "In a democracy, friends, the people are always right, the collective wisdom of Manitobans has to be respected, Tonight as we examine the results ... I have offered my resignation."​Selinger said that his resignation would take effect immediately. He asked the party to appoint an interim leader. Sellinger had raised the Manitoba sales tax to 8 percent after promising during the previous election campaign that he would not. Selinger had opposition to his leadership within his own party with 5 cabinet minister criticizing him. There was a leadership review that Selinger managed to survive. However, the NDP share of the popular vote declined while the Conservatives gained. The NDP had been in office since 1999.
The Liberal leader, Rena Bokhari, came third in her own constituency in spite of the fact that the party managed to win three seats compared to one last election. It won two seats in Winnipeg and scored a surprise victory in the north.
The PC's performance was its best in modern history with 53 percent of the vote and winning 40 seats. In 1977 the PC's managed 36 seats and 49 percent of the vote. As usual, the PCs did quite well in rural Manitoba winning 23 seats but they also won 17 in the city of Winnipeg. The PC easily defeated incumbent Drew Caldwell in the City of Brandon's Brandon East constituency with PC Len Isleifson winning by over one thousand votes. I live in the rural constituency of Riding Mountain where the PC candidate Greg Nesbitt won over the second place Liberal by more than 4 thousand votes. The NDP candidate came in last just behind the third place Green candidate. The NDP now only holds seats in Winnipeg and northern Manitoba.
The election set a record for the number of declined ballots. A declined ballot is equivalent to voting "none of the above". The voter simply writes the word "decline" on the front of the ballot and it is then officially registered as declined. In 1999 a record 1,129 voters declined ballots but yesterday a whopping 4,016 voters cast declined ballots almost one percent of the vote.

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