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Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff resigns after Canada poll

Michael Ignatieff 51%

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Michael Ignatieff, the man once hailed as the "bionic liberal", has stepped down as Canada's Liberal leader after leading the party to its worst ever election defeat.

The Liberals came in a distant third in Monday night's elections with 34 seats, giving Stephen Harper's Conservatives, on 167 seats, a majority in the 308-seat House of Commons.

The collapse of the Liberals, the traditional party of governance for the 20th century, has redrawn the map of Canadian politics. The leftwing New Democratic party, led by Jack Layton, nearly tripled their strength to 102 seats, emerging for the first time as the official opposition.

Voters also elected the first Green party MP, Elizabeth May, in British Columbia, and threw out all but four members of the French-speaking separatist Bloc Québécois.

Ignatieff's humiliation was compounded by the loss of his own seat. On Tuesday morning, the exhausted-looking leader blamed the Liberals' collapse on negative attack ads. Canadians liked him once they got to know him, he told a press conference, but "there were these negative attack ads that made it very difficult for me to connect with people who weren't in the room," he said. "I had a very large square put around my neck for a number of years."

But Ignatieff, who became a public figure in the 1990s as the telegenic host of BBC's Late Show before decamping for a job at Harvard as a human rights professor, said he took responsibility for the defeat. "The only thing Canadians like less than a loser is a so. e loser and I go out of politics with my head held high," he said.

 

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 by Suzanne Goldenberg

 

Source: guardian


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