Canadians have gone to the polls in a federal election but the outcome is proving far from easy to predict.
The ruling Conservatives are expected to win the most seats but it’s anyone’s guess if they’ll clinch a majority.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has warned his fellow countrymen against casting protest votes for a previously small opposition party, the left-leaning New Democrats.
Their leader, charismatic Jack Layton is riding a wave of voter disenchantment with the main parties. His NDP is currently coming a strong second on promises to raise public spending and cut greenhouse gases.
It means Layton could find himself in a position to form a coalition with the Liberals and their leader Michael Ignatieff. Although the Liberals were the government’s main rivals at the start of the campaign, they’ve now slipped to third in the polls.
Despite the Conservatives looking likely to come first, Harper’s attacks on opposition parties could scupper his coalition options, making way for the New Democrats.