Voters in Canada will head to polls on Monday to elect the country’s 44th Parliament. There is a lot at stake for Canada’s Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau whose popularity has plunged majorly, placing him in a tight race with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole.

According to the Canadian government data, over 27 million people are eligible to vote in this year’s general elections. Approximately 5.78 million ballots have already been cast in advance polls.

As per the pre-poll survey, neither the Liberals nor the right-leaning Conservatives have the 38% public support needed for a majority.

Trudeau called the vote two years early to seek approval for his left-of-center government’s handling of the pandemic and regain the Parliamentary majority he lost in 2019. His initial healthy lead in the race vanished amid unhappiness with the early call.

Here key things to know about the snap elections:

> Canada is a parliamentary democracy and Monday’s vote will decide the 338 seats at the lower house of the Parliament, the House of Commons.

> A party needs to secure a majority of 170 seats to successfully form their government.

> The polls booths will open and close at staggered times across Canada due to the several time zones across the country. The last polls will close at 7pm (local time) on the country’s west coast.

> The federal election campaign comes at a time when the country is going through a Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to this, issues like climate crisis, healthcare, housing and economy are also at the centre stage.

> The outcome of Monday’s vote is wholly unpredictable as the two main parties who’ve ruled Canada since its confederation in 1867 are neck and neck, with about 31 per cent of poll respondents saying they intend to vote for each.

> According to experts, in case Trudeau does win the polls, it would most likely be a minority government, which would leave him dependent again on other parties to govern.

> Besides Trudeau and O’Toole, other leaders of smaller factions include the leftist New Democratic Party’s Jagmeet Singh, Yves-François Blanchet of separatist Bloc Quebecois and the Green’s Annamie Paul.

> The final results are expected to be delayed as mail-in ballots which are expected to number in the hundreds of thousands, will be counted.

> Forty-seven-year-old O’Toole is a military veteran and former lawyer. He served as a member of Parliament for nine years.

> Trudeau gambled that Canadians would reward his adept handling of the pandemic and smooth vaccine rollout by returning him to Ottawa with a strong majority that would allow him to pass his agenda without opposition support. Whatever the outcome, the election will almost certainly be deemed a failure for Trudeau, as it has weakened his political standing.

(With agency inputs)

World News

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