Liberal Premier Brian Gallant said he has permission from New Brunswick’s lieutenant-governor to continue governing after winning fewer seats than the Progressive Conservatives last night.
Gallant told reporters outside the Government House in Fredericton that he continues to believe the Liberals are in a strong position the maintain the confidence of the house after a meeting with Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau Tuesday morning.
“I want to very clear,” he said. “I humbly accept the very strong message New Brunswickers sent last night.”
Gallant said the results are an indication that people want to see changes in the way government is done in the province.
In a nail-biting election with tight results in a handful of ridings, the Progressive Conservatives won 22 seats, the Liberals won 21, the Greens garnered three and the People’s Alliance joined the legislature for the first time with three seats.
With all polls reporting, the Liberals received 37.8 per cent of the votes compared with the PC share of 31.9 per cent.
That situation would put Blaine Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives in the most advantageous position to form a minority government by working with a third party.
But Gallant told Liberal supporters after the results came in that he would still attempt to stay in power.
"Clearly there is some uncertainty tonight," Gallant said, noting there will be automatic recounts.
Neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the Liberals won a majority of seats, and the current government can attempt to hold confidence even with a minority. The current premier retains the right to meet with the legislature regardless of electoral outcome.
It came down to the final poll in the final riding to see which party would win the most seats. In Southwest Miramichi-Bay-Du-Vin, the Progressive Conservatives edged out the People’s Alliance to earn 22 total seats. New Brunswick’s legislature requires 25 for a majority.
The province has not had a minority government in nearly 100 years. New Brunswick has limited experience with minority governments. The last time a third party held the balance of power in the legislature was in 1920 when two farmers’ parties managed to win 11 seats combined.