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Cablegate: Newfoundland-Labrador Provincial Election Now Underway

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DE RUEHHA #0077 2601851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171851Z SEP 07
FM AMCONSUL HALIFAX
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1218
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0479
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHHA/AMCONSUL HALIFAX 1297

UNCLAS HALIFAX 000077

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CA
SUBJECT: NEWFOUNDLAND-LABRADOR PROVINCIAL ELECTION NOW UNDERWAY


1. Tory Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland-Labrador has gone
through the formality of calling a provincial election for
October 9. The Premier called on Lt. Governor Ed Roberts on
September 17 to ask him to dissolve the Legislature and make way
for what will be the province's first fixed-date election.
Williams and his Tory party have ruled Newfoundland-Labrador
since October 2003 after he defeated the incumbent Liberal
government, a contest which left Williams with a comfortable
majority. Standings in the 48-seat house at time of dissolution
show the Tories with 34 seats, the Liberals with 11, the NDP
with one. Two seats are vacant. Williams will be going up
against two rookie opponents, Liberal Leader Gerry Reid and the
NDP's Lorraine Michael, both of whom took over their respective
parties this past year.

2. Premier Williams has enjoyed historically high support since
taking office. The latest public opinion polls show that over
three quarters of decided voters say they would back the Premier
in the election. Those results have prompted election-watchers
to use phrases such as landslide, sweep and decimation of the
opposition forces in their predictions of the likely outcome of
the election. Still, the Premier has warned his candidates and
party workers not to take anything for granted.

3. Comment: Consul General and Political Specialist will be in
Newfoundland-Labrador September 18-20 and will provide further
analysis upon their return. End Comment.

FOSTER

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