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Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 21:35 UK

Canadian PM to call snap election

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (file photo)
Recent polls indicate Stephen Harper's Conservatives could win a majority

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office has confirmed he will call an early general election.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, said voting would be held on 14 October.

Mr Harper had hinted in recent weeks that elections were inevitable to break a deadlock with opposition parties on several key issues.

His Conservative Party was elected in 2006, but does not have an overall majority in parliament.

The prime minister will meet with Governor-General Michaelle Jean on Sunday morning to ask for parliament's dissolution - which would lead to the third national election in just over three years.

The Governor-General represents Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, whose formal approval is needed to dissolve parliament.

The call for elections comes days after a poll which showed the Conservative government to be leading in the polls after a surge in popularity.

They need to win an additional 28 seats to have a majority in parliament, and analysts say they have a better chance of doing so now rather than waiting until the opposition decides to call a vote.

Mr Harper's Conservatives ended 12 years of Liberal government after elections in 2006.

His party claimed 36% of the popular vote by promising to cut taxes, fight crime, boost military spending and to repair relations with the US.

He went on to form a minority administration, but has been dogged by clashes with opposition parties, whose agreement he needed to pass legislation.


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