U.S. Edition
ELECTION TYPE Parliamentary
DATE January 23, 2006
At stake in this election:
  • 308 seats in the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes)
Description of government structure:
  • Chief of State: Queen ELIZABETH II*
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Paul MARTIN
  • Assembly: Canada has a bicameral Parliament (Parlement) consisting of the Senate (Sénat) with 105 members and the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes) with 308 members.**

*The Queen is represented in Canada by Governor General Michaelle JEAN.

**According to the 2003 Representation Order, there are currently 308 electoral districts, and according to the Constitution one seat is allocated per electoral district.

Description of electoral system:
  • The monarch is hereditary.
  • In the Senate (Sénat), 105 members are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.* In the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes), 308 members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms.**

* No terms are set and senators can serve in office until the age of 75.

** The duration of the House of Commons cannot exceed five years, except under special circumstances, including real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection.

Main parties in the electoral races:
  • Party: Liberal Party of Canada
    Leader: Paul MARTIN
    Seats won in last election: 135

  • Party: Conservative Party of Canada*
    Leader: Stephen HARPER
    Seats won in last election: 99
  • Party: Bloc Québécois
    Leader: Gilles DUCEPPE
    Seats won in last election: 54

  • Party: New Democratic Party
    Leader: Jack LAYTON
    Seats won in last election: 19

    *This party is a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party.

When was the last election?
  • Elections for the House of Commons were last held on June 28, 2004.
Population and number of registered voters:
  • Population: 32,805,041 (July 2005 est.)
  • Number of registered voters: 22,699,291 (November 30, 2005)
Of interest:
  • Snap elections were called after the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal Party) lost a vote of confidence on November 29 in the House of Commons.
  • Advanced polls will take place on January 13, 14 and 16, 2006. Electors can also vote by special ballot at the office of their returning officer until January 17, 2006.
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