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Canada's Trudeau wins 2nd term but loses majority

Updated: 2019-10-22 10:19
Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wave to supporters after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 22, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a second term in Canada's national elections Monday, losing the majority but delivering unexpectedly strong results despite having been weakened by a series of scandals that tarnished his image as a liberal icon.

Trudeau's Liberal party took most seats in Parliament, giving it the best chance to form a government. Still, falling short of a majority meant they would have to rely on an opposition party to stay in power.

"It's not quite the same as 2015. It's not all owing to the leader," said Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history and international relations at the University of Toronto. "Trudeau is prime minister because the rest of the party was able to pull itself together and prevail. While Trudeau certainly deserves credit for what has happened he's really going to have to demonstrate qualities that he hasn't yet shown."

Still, the results were a victory for Trudeau, whose clean-cut image took a hit after old photos of him in blackface and brownface surfaced last month.

"I'm surprised at how well Trudeau has done," said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. "I don't think anybody expected Trudeau to get a majority but they are not that far off."

With results still trickling in early Tuesday, the Liberals had 157 seats — 13 short of the 170 needed for a majority in the 338-seat House of Commons.

"Tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity. They elected a progressive agenda and strong action on climate change," Trudeau said early Tuesday.

His address to supporters came, unusually, as his Conservative rival, Andrew Scheer, had just begun speaking to his own supporters, forcing networks to tear away from Scheer's speech. But the prime minister struck a conciliatory note: "To those who did not vote for us, know that we will work every single day for you, we will govern for everyone," Trudeau said.

The Canadian vote came down to what was essentially a choice between the handsome and charismatic Trudeau and Scheer, the Conservatives' unassuming leader who was seen as the perfect antidote to Trudeau's flash and celebrity.

Trudeau reasserted liberalism in 2015 after almost 10 years of Conservative Party government in Canada, but scandals combined with high expectations damaged his prospects.

Perhaps sensing Trudeau was in trouble, Barack Obama made an unprecedented endorsement by a former American president in urging Canadians to re-elect Trudeau and saying the world needs his progressive leadership now.

AP

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