Canadian PM declares election victory

Wednesday 15 October 2008 11.40
Stephen Harper - Called election five weeks ago
Stephen Harper - Called election five weeks ago

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared victory in Canada's general election as his Conservatives strengthened their grasp on power, and promised to work with opposition parties to bolster an economy hit by global turmoil.

Canadians gave Mr Harper a new mandate, but he faces his second consecutive minority government.

In a speech to supporters at his campaign headquarters in Calgary, he promised to work with opposition parties to tackle the economic crisis.

'Canadians have voted and rendered their verdict and charted the way forward for our country,' Mr Harper said.

Mr Harper called the election five weeks ago, saying he wanted a stronger mandate in the face of what he termed a 'dysfunctional parliament,' but the campaign was hijacked by the growing economic turmoil stemming from the US credit market crisis.

Polls early in the campaign showed his gamble might result in a majority government, but what some observers called missteps in confronting the crisis rejuvenated his rivals.

Mr Harper said the Conservatives will focus on three priorities in their second minority mandate: govern on behalf of all Canadians, create a parliament that works and keep the party's election promises.

Preliminary results showed the Conservatives won 144 of the 308 seats in parliament.