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(Updates seat count and vote share in second paragraph.)
Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was re-elected with a majority of seats in the Canadian prairie province’s legislature, extending the current New Democratic Party’s mandate to four terms.
The NDP, which has been in power since 1999, won 37 of 57 districts, compared with 19 for the Progressive Conservative Party and 1 for the Liberal Party, according to results posted on the provincial election agency’s website. The ruling party won 46 percent of the popular vote, compared with 44 percent for the Progressive Conservatives and 8 percent for the Liberals.
The election comes as Manitoba prepares for a possible slowdown amid a faltering global economy. With a diversified economy that includes agriculture, financial services and transportation, Manitoba avoided the recession that affected the rest of the country in 2008 and 2009.
The province’s unemployment rate, at 5.4 percent, is the second-lowest in the country after Saskatchewan and lower than the country’s 7.3 percent rate. The economy will probably expand 2.1 percent this year before slowing to 1.7 percent growth in 2012, according to TD Group Chief Economist Craig Alexander.
It was Selinger’s first win as leader after he took over in 2009 from former Premier Gary Doer, who is now Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. Selinger, 60, studied social work at the University of Manitoba and worked as a community organizer before becoming a city councilor, according to his campaign website.
The eastern-most prairie province, with a population of about 1.25 million, is positioning itself as a transportation hub for North America and building a 20,000-acre inland port and logistics center in Winnipeg, the provincial capital. The development aims to attract investment to expand Manitoba’s trade links and exports of agricultural and other products to China, the U.S. and Asian markets.
Selinger’s government projects a C$438 million ($415 million) deficit in the fiscal year that began in April, with a return to surplus scheduled for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Manitoba has C$27.9 billion ($26.5 billion) in outstanding bonds, according to Bloomberg data. The province’s debt is rated AA by Standard & Poor’s with a stable outlook.
The rating reflects “the province’s well-diversified economy, which remains resilient in the face of sluggish global economic conditions,” credit analysts Mario Angastiniotis and Stephen Ogilvie of Standard & Poor’s wrote in a note to investors in December.
The election was the second of three this week, with Prince Edward Island re-electing a Liberal government Oct. 3, and voters in Ontario, the country’s most populous province, going to the polls Oct. 6.
--Editors: Paul Badertscher, John Brinsley
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