P.E.I. is waking up to a new government Wednesday morning, but it is not entirely clear how that government will come together.
In one sense, the Progressive Conservative victory is exactly what history would have expected. The trend since the 1960s has been for the Liberals and the Tories to trade government back and forth after three terms, and the Liberals were seeking a fourth term.
In other ways, it is unprecedented.
It is the first minority government for the Island in modern times. The most recent coalition governments were in the 1870s.
And the Green Party, led by Peter Bevan-Baker, is set to form the first official Opposition for the Greens in Canada.
The final results on the night were
- Progressive Conservative: 12.
- Green: 8.
- Liberal: 6.
The NDP failed to win a seat, and outgoing premier Wade MacLauchlan was defeated in his district.
There is still a byelection to come. The election in District 9, Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, was suspended when Green candidate Josh Underhay died in an accident on Friday.
The referendum on electoral reform failed to pass.
Premier-designate Dennis King now faces a task that has never before been faced by a P.E.I. premier. He needs to figure out how to form a consensus in the legislature without having a majority of his own party there.
King promised a more collaborative approach to government during the campaign, and he will now be forced to make good on that promise. King said the results showed Islanders are looking for a new kind of politics.
“It shows that Prince Edward Island wants the parties of Prince Edward Island to put partisan nature behind them, to work together,” he said in his victory speech.
“I’m looking forward to working with all elected officials in the legislature to make that happen for Prince Edward Island.”