martes, 3 de mayo de 2011

Canada Liberal leader Ignatieff quits after election

 Canadian intellectual Michael Ignatieff Mr Ignatieff's Liberal Party saw their seats in the House of Commons drop from 77 seats to 34 Former Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff says he is resigning as the leader of Canada's Liberal Party, after a crushing defeat in the country's general election. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party won a majority government in the election on Monday.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) became the official opposition by claiming 102 seats, while the Liberals took 34.
The election marks the worst defeat in the history of the Liberal Party.
Mr Ignatieff said on Tuesday that Conservative attack ads, which made use of the more than 30 years Mr Ignatieff lived in Europe and the US, had a large impact on the outcome of the election.
"My attachment to the country, my patriotism were questioned, my motivations were questioned and that had a political effect, there's no doubt about that, but I have to also take my responsibilities," Mr Ignatieff said.
The Liberal Party dropped from 77 seats to 34 in the House of Commons, with Mr Ignatieff even losing his own seat in a suburb of the city of Toronto.
The election marks the first time in Canadian history the Liberal Party did not finish either first or second.
Mr Harper's former colleagues have said the prime minister's long-term goals are to shatter the image of the Liberal Party as the natural party of Canadian government.
Conservative victory Conservatives won 167 of the 308 electoral districts, earning 40% of the vote, Elections Canada reported.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: "Canadians chose hope"
Mr Harper, who took office in 2006, has previously won two elections but never before held a majority government.
His victory marks Canada's fourth general election in seven years.
Mr Harper went into the vote having headed two successive minority Conservative governments since 2006. His party held 143 seats in the House of Commons prior to the dissolution of the last government.
Analysts say the prime minister has slowly nudged the country further to the right during his five-year tenure.
He has lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided signing climate change legislation and become a stark advocate of Arctic sovereignty.
Although the opinion polls predicted that the Conservatives would regain power, the scale of victory came as a surprise.
PM Stephen Harper ran a tightly-focused campaign, concentrating largely on his government's record in managing the economy, which has emerged from a recession as one of the strongest among the G7 group of countries.
The NDP had its best-ever showing, taking more than 100 seats. But it has been a disastrous night for the Liberal Party - it dominated Canadian politics in the 20th Century but has suffered its worst-ever result.
The Quebec separatist party, Bloc Quebecois, which has dominated politics in the French-speaking province for the past 20 years, has been almost wiped out, winning just three seats, too few to qualify for party status in the parliament in Ottawa.
The realignment of opposition parties could change the landscape for Canadian politics. There will certainly be calls for the Liberals and NDP to merge in an effort to unite the left-of-centre vote. And by choosing the federalist NDP over the separatists, Quebec may have triggered a renewed debate over its place in Canada's federation. 
He has also increased military spending and extended Canada's military mission in Afghanistan.
"We are grateful, deeply honoured, in fact humbled by the decisive endorsement of so many Canadians," Mr Harper told supporters on Monday in the city of Calgary in the country's Alberta province.
Mr Harper said Canadians "can now turn the page from uncertainties" with a majority government.
New Democratic gains NDP leader Jack Layton jubilantly greeted his supporters in Toronto on Monday evening.
"Spring is here, my friends, and a new chapter begins," Mr Layton said.
The NDP went into the election with 37 seats, compared with 77 for the Liberals and 143 for the Conservatives.
The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which seeks independence for the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, suffered heavy losses, retaining only four seats out of the 47 seats they previously held.
Mr Harper's government was forced into an election after a no-confidence vote in parliament.
It was found to be in contempt of parliament because of its failure to disclose the full costs of anti-crime programmes, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets from the US.