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CANADA
COUNTRY Canada
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.
SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR ELECTION SYSTEMS (IFES)
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: IFES ELECTIONGUIDE ONLINEexternal link
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