The New Democratic Party leapfrogged over the Liberals on Tuesday night to become the Official Opposition behind Leader Liz Hanson, who handily won her Whitehorse Centre riding.

Hanson won easily with 411 votes. The Yukon party's Marian Horne came in second with 160 votes. Liberal Patrick Singh had 91 votes.

The race was expected to be close, with Hanson going up against former MLA Marian Horne. Horne held the seat for Pelly–Nisutlin since 2006. She lost the Yukon Party nomination for that seat to rival candidate Stacey Hassard.

Hanson thanked her volunteers and all those who ran in the election. She said as New Democrats, her party's elected members are both humbled and honoured.

"Your new NDP official opposition will … work to get a fair deal for our natural resources, we will fight to protect the Peel and to make land-use planning a government priority," said Hanson to a crowd of cheering supporters.

Hanson became her party’s leader in 2007. She was originally running against the late Steve Cardiff for the job. Cardiff dropped out, and Hanson became the party’s acclaimed leader.

Hanson, 54, came out of retirement to lead the party. She worked as a regional director-general for Indian and Northern Affairs, now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

Hanson was the only incumbent NDP MLA heading into the 2011 election. The party’s other MLA, Steve Cardiff, died in a car crash this summer.