Canada's 41st federal election begins

08:35, May 03, 2011      

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A man passes by the building of the Office of Canada's Chief Electoral Officer in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on May 2, 2011. After a 37-day fierce campaign, Canada's 41st federal election began on Monday morning and voters cast their ballots in 308 electoral districts for 308 members of the House of Commons in Parliament. (Xinhua/Ashley Fraser)

After a 37-day fierce campaign, Canada's 41st federal election began on Monday morning and voters cast their ballots in 308 electoral districts for 308 members of the House of Commons in Parliament.

The party, which has most MPs, will form the federal government with its leader as the Prime Minister.

Canada's political leaders campaigned all day Sunday, trying for the last hours to woo voters in race that pollsters say is a statistical tie.

An EKOS Research poll showed the Conservative Party at 34.6 percent, the New Democratic Party at 31.4 percent, the Liberal Party at 20.4 percent, the Green Party 6.3 percent, and the Bloc Quebecois, which only runs candidates in Quebec, at 5 per cent.

The difference between the Conservatives and the NDP falls within the poll's margin of error of 3 per cent, EKOS said.

As Canada, the second largest country in the world with a population of some 33 million, stretches over six time zones, polling stations are open for 12 hours from as early as 7:00 a.m. to as late as 9:00 p.m. at local times.

The first results will start being broadcast at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time when the polls close in British Columbia in the western most province.

More than two million Canadian voters, aged 18 and above, cast ballots in advance polls over the Easter long weekend, a 34 percent increase from the 2008 federal election.

Harper's Conservative government was defeated on March 25 by the opposition parties in a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons, which found the government in contempt of the parliament.

The parliament was dissolved in the following day, and Canada's 41st federal election, the fourth in the past seven years, was slated for May 2.

The Tories, which won the federal elections in 2006 and 2008, ended up all with minority governments.

Source: Xinhua

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