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Conservatives retain Saskatchewan

BBC News BBC News 5/04/2016
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall © AP Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

The conservative Saskatchewan Party has swept to a third consecutive victory as the Canadian province held elections.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has risen to national prominence as one the country's leading conservatives.

The largely rural province is seen as one of the last conservative strongholds in Canada.

Mr Wall's success comes months after the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government. Mr Trudeau has congratulated Mr Wall.

The prime minister said he was looking forward "to a continued, productive working relationship".

The Saskatchewan Party won a clear election, with victories in 51 out of 61 constituencies, according to the CBC.

The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) led by Cam Broten has won 10 seats, a slight improvement after the party suffered major losses in the 2011 elections.

During the campaign, Mr Broten criticised Mr Wall's government for running a deficit.

Mr Wall campaigned on his record and promised to bring more jobs to the province.

"We did not win anything tonight. We have been given an opportunity to serve," Mr Wall told his cheering supporters after his victory.

In a surprising upset, neighbouring province Alberta elected the left-leaning NDP last year, ousting the conservatives after years in power.

Failing oil prices and a strong US dollar have hurt the Canadian economy. Alberta, a hub of the Canadian oil industry, has been hard hit.

However, with strong agriculture and mining sectors, Saskatchewan weathered the downturn better than Alberta.

Mr Wall remains popular and the province's unemployment rate is low, compared to the rest of the country.

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