Voters in Canada's western province of Manitoba were set to re-elect the right-leaning Progressive Conservative (PC) party led by Brian Pallister on Tuesday, CTV news predicted, as early poll results were tabulated.
The re-election of Pallister and his Conservative party will add to the challenges facing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and other initiatives have run into opposition from Pallister and fellow conservative premiers from Ontario and other provinces.
Manitoba's economy depends on farming, manufacturing and mining.
Trudeau's Liberal government will seek a second term in a national election Oct 21, with the formal campaign set to kick off on Wednesday.
Prior to the Manitoba election, the PCs held 38 of the province's 57 seats.
The PCs were on track to win 33 seats, CTV projected with 56 of 57 polls reporting, well ahead of the second-place New Democrats, who looked to win 20. The Liberals were in third place with three seats. In Manitoba, a party needs to win 29 seats to secure a majority.
Pallister's government, first elected in 2016, has steadily reduced Manitoba's fiscal deficit and this year kept a promise to reduce the province's sales tax by one point to 7%.
Pallister, 65, grew up on a Manitoba farm before working as a school teacher and financial consultant. He also held office in both the provincial legislature and federal parliament.
He called the election just three years into his mandate, a year ahead of schedule, saying he did not want it to conflict with celebrations of Manitoba's 150th anniversary in 2020.
Pallister has faced criticism that he spends too much time at his vacation home in Costa Rica, a charge he has denied.