Voters in New Brunswick turned their backs on the province’s entrenched two-party system on Monday, electing enough third party candidates to leave the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives in a virtual dead heat in what is sure to be a minority legislature.
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More than three hours after the polls closed, the Tories were leading or elected in 22 seats, the incumbent Liberals had 21, the right-of-centre People’s Alliance had three and the Greens three. The NDP was shut out of the race.
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A total of 25 seats is needed for a majority in the 49-seat house, which means the third parties were poised to play a key role in deciding who governs the province: incumbent Liberal Brian Gallant or Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs.
Higgs claimed victory, saying his team had a mandate.
But Gallant said he plans to meet Tuesday with the province’s lieutenant governor to explain that he intends to continue governing the province by securing support in the legislature on a vote-by-vote basis.