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New premier of P.E.I. calls election, voters go to polls on May 4

Wade MacLauchlan waves to the crowd as he is acclaimed leader at the Prince Edward Island Liberal leadership convention in Charlottetown on Feb. 21, 2015.
Wade MacLauchlan waves to the crowd as he is acclaimed leader at the Prince Edward Island Liberal leadership convention in Charlottetown on Feb. 21, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

WEST COVEHEAD, P.E.I. – Voters in Prince Edward Island are going to the polls on May 4.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced the election date at his nomination meeting Monday night, leading the Liberal party into an election less than two months since taking office when Robert Ghiz stepped down.

READ MORE: P.E.I. election focuses on health care, government accountability

This will also be the first election for Progressive Conservative Leader Rob Lantz, who won his party’s leadership at the end of February.

The Liberals could have waited until next April to call an election but MacLauchlan has chosen to seek a fresh mandate rather than seek a legislature seat through a byelection.

The 60-year-old former president of the University of Prince Edward Island was the only candidate for the Liberal leadership.

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The 45-year-old Lantz is a former Charlottetown city councillor.

When the legislature was dissolved by the lieutenant-governor, the Liberals held 20 seats in the legislature, the Tories had three seats, there was one Independent and three seats were vacant.

The Liberals have held power in P.E.I. since 2007, winning two straight majority governments.