It was a disastrous election for the NDP as the party watched its rural reign slip through its fingers.

Voters in Nova Scotia dumped the NDP on Tuesday after giving Darrell Dexter an historic election victory four years ago, turning this time to Liberal Stephen McNeil, who swept to power on promises to bring soaring electricity rates under control while putting an end to corporate handouts. 

In the 2009 election, the New Democrats were elected in every district along the Atlantic coast of mainland Nova Scotia. Ridings such as Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, Cumberland North, Kings North and Truro-Bible Hill went to the NDP ​— a once unthinkable outcome in a political province that has tended to vote with tradition.

But this time, the New Democrats couldn't maintain that hold. Districts that traditionally voted Progressive Conservative returned to Tory blue. Under leader Jamie Baillie, the Progressive Conservatives will form the Official Opposition.

While campaigning in rural Nova Scotia, Dexter raised the spectre of Liberal cuts that he said would jeopardize programs that are vital to the province's smaller communities.

NDP keep some Cape Breton seats 

Cape Breton provided the NDP with two of its seven seats.

Dexter launched his bid for re-election in the Cape Breton town of Port Hawkesbury, where his government gave a 10-year, $124.5 million aid package to help resume operations at a paper mill that was on the verge of financial collapse.

Frank Corbett was able to maintain his seat in Cape Breton Centre and Gordie Gosse, former speaker of the house, will also return to Province House as the Sydney-Whitney Pier representative.

This map shows where the party leaders travelled throughout the 32-day campaign:

With files from The Canadian Press