Day, Manning win first Alliance leadership vote

Stockwell Day surprised some of his own supporters Saturday night when he secured a comfortable lead over Preston Manning in the first round of voting at the Canadian Alliance leadership convention.

But Alberta's former treasurer fell short of an outright majority, so a second runoff ballot is now scheduled between the two men in Toronto on July 8.

The leadership vote was carried live on CBC TV and CBC Newsworld. Final results were announced around 10:30 p.m. ET, about an hour and a half later than expected in a process plagued by technical glitches.

More than a third of the people eligible to vote cast their ballots over the telephone a process that was criticized by some because of technical glitches, as well as the possibility of fraud.

As votes were being announced Saturday night, Martin told CBC News that he planned to ask the party's executive to review the voting process to make sure there were no irregularities.

Near the end of the campaign, Martin had suggested the vote be postponed because of bogus names that had surfaced on membership lists in Quebec. He wanted the telephone voting replaced by mail-in ballots.

After a poor turnout for Friday night's speeches the final event of the leadership campaign some questioned the commitment of the party membership.

The five candidates couldn't fill a convention hall in Calgary.

Some delegates called it a disappointing turnout for a party that boats about how its membership has more than doubled in the past three months.

The Alliance expected 2,000 people for the final leadership speeches. The party got half that number, the crowd's enthusiasm muted by rows of silent chairs.

But other Alliance members said the empty chairs are not a good measure of the party's success. The real test, they said, is the number of voters who cast their ballots, either in person or by telephone.

Critics have questioned the legitimacy of the entire process, since a scandal over thousands of bogus names surfaced in Quebec, as well as party members who said they weren't able to vote by phone because the secret numerical codes they were given didn't work.