The P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party under rookie Leader Dennis King has emerged victorious in Tuesday’s election by a narrow margin — the party won or is leading in more districts than either the Liberals, Greens or NDP, but failed to win the 14 seats needed for a majority.
Although a Tory minority was somewhat unexpected, it’s not shocking. The Liberals were seeking a fourth term, and history suggests the vote was the Tories’ to lose. For more than 50 years the trend has been a regular back and forth — the Liberals would win three, then the PCs would win three.
After 12 years as the Official Opposition, it is once again the PCs’ turn to govern.
“It’s almost a surreal experience,” King told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin in an interview after he’d been projected to win his seat.
King had been around politics for a long time, but when the election was called in March he had been a politician for just over five months. He had previously been a political commentator and director of communications in Premier Pat Binns’s office.
Using the phrase “It’s about people,” the $52 million PC platform included selling liquor in corner stores, increasing the basic personal income tax exemption by $3,000, preschool for four-year-olds and lowering the small business tax rate to one per cent.
King credited that genuine connection with Islanders for the PC win.
“I hope Islanders know that it means that there’s three parties ready to go to work for them and it’s going to be a much different legislature when we sit,” he said.
After the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay and his young son in a canoeing accident on the weekend, the election in District 9, Charlottetown–Hillsborough Park, was cancelled. A byelection will be scheduled within three months.
This story originally appeared on CBC