PC minority government in P.E.I. projected by CBC News
Green Party poised to form Official Opposition
CBC News is projecting a PC minority government in P.E.I., after the party took an early lead in Tuesday's election.
CBC News is also projecting both PC Leader Dennis King and Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker will be elected in their districts. Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan lost a tight race in his district, and NDP Leader Joe Byrne finished fourth in his.
Polls taken during the campaign showed a Green lead with the PCs in second. But history suggested the Tories would be able to flip that storyline.
Since the 1960s, the province has tended to see the Liberals and PCs trade places after every three elections. But two factors have threatened to break this trend.
Since the 2015 election the Tories have had five leaders, following the failure of then-leader Rob Lantz to win a seat in the legislature. Current Leader Dennis King has only been on the job since February. There were questions about whether that was enough time to convince voters the party was ready to govern.
And then there was the emergence of the Green Party, which has led the polls for the last year on the strength Leader Peter Bevan-Baker's popularity.
But King immediately embarked on a series of consultations on the party's platform following his leadership win, meeting with voters across the Island.
He promised a more consultative approach to government, and demonstrated his intentions for a more collaborative approach during the CBC debate by occasionally applauding statements by the other leaders.
Tuesday's early results suggest that style resonated with a significant number of voters.
Polls in 25 of the 27 districts closed at 7 p.m. AT, and at 7:30 p.m. in Stratford–Keppoch, where polls were closed earlier this afternoon due to an unsubstantiated threat.
The election has been postponed in Charlottetown–Hillsborough following the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay and his son on Friday. However, voters in that district will still be able to cast a ballot in a referendum to decide if the province should move to a mixed member proportional representation voting system.
The election is being closely watched around the country. It marks the first three-way race in a province long held by two parties. The Green Party is hoping to make an unprecedented breakthrough — and with that comes the possibility the province could elect its first minority government.