David and Rhonda Alward

Premier David Alward and his wife Rhonda Alward leave Government House Monday. (CBC)

Premier David Alward carried out a pre-election ritual on Monday.

He visited Government House to ask asked Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas to dissolve the legislative assembly.

Nicholas officially agreed and the campaign will begin Thursday for the Sept. 22 provincial election.

Given the date of provincial elections in New Brunswick is fixed in law, the tradition is little more than a formality.

"We'll be moving forward for the election and there's no question we're at a turning point in New Brunswick's history. We look at some of the challenges we face as a province, whether they be fiscal, demographic, economic as well," said Alward.

The campaign will last 31 days. Forty-nine seats will be up for grabs, down from 55 seats in the last election, thanks to new electoral boundaries.

Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau will take on the role of lieutenant-governor from Nicholas shortly after the election.