15 Oct 2008

Canadian PM declares election victory

7:33 pm on 15 October 2008

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared victory in the country's general election.

Mr Harper's Conservative Party has promised to work with opposition parties to bolster an economy battered by global turmoil.

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

He called the election five weeks ago, saying he wanted a stronger mandate in the face of what he termed a "dysfunctional parliament."

Polls early in the campaign showed Mr Harper's gamble might result in a majority government, but what some observers call missteps in confronting the global financial 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.

"We've shown that a minority government can work," he said. "At this time of global economic instability we owe it to Canadians to demonstrate this once again."

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