Prime minister’s Liberal party fell short of commanding a majority in parliament meaning the left-leaning New Democrat Party could prove to be a kingmaker.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue in his role as leader of the world’s second-largest country by landmass but at the cost of his majority in parliament.
The premier’s Liberal party secured 157 seats despite winning a percentage point fewer votes than the Conservatives with 33 percent.
Monday’s election results mean Trudeau can form either a minority or coalition government, although the former is more likely.
To pass legislation or to form government, the Liberals will need votes from smaller parties, including the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) or the New Democratic Party (NDP), which secured 32 and 24 seats respectively.
Jagmeet Singh - the leader of the NDP- expressed his openness to work with the Liberals before the election and while PQ officials are currently keeping their cards close to their chest, they have spoken about securing concessions from the federal government.
The NDP present the most natural partner for Trudeau, as their outlook overlaps on several issues, such as the environment and opposition to tax cuts but both sides would approach such an arrangement with caution.
For the Liberals, key NDP policies, such as new taxes on the super-rich could mean a loss of support to the Conservatives, who are opposed to such measures.
The NDP’s push for proportional representation could also prove too costly a price for Trudeau.
Singh’s party polled 15.9 percent of the vote but only picked up seven percent of parliamentary seats.
After the 2015 election, Trudeau broke a campaign promise to reform electoral law to get rid of the ‘first-past-the-post’ system currently employed by the country.
Under the rules, elections are fought by parties at the constituency level and national support does not necessarily apply to individual seats. That means a winner takes all system in each parliamentary area and that parties with support concentrated in specific geographic regions do not benefit from their overall popularity.
In a proportionally representative system, the number of seats allotted to each party is roughly equal to their vote share, provided a minimum threshold of votes is met.
Despite being the world’s second-biggest country, Canada’s population stands at just under 40 million people, which is about the same as Poland.
The country benefits from huge fossil fuel reserves but the proceeds of these resources have not been spread evenly, particularly in remote northern areas where many indigenous Canadian communities live.
Culturally, the country is divided along linguistic lines, with French speakers concentrated in Quebec and English speakers throughout the rest of the country.