Canadian federal election to be on May 2

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 26, 2011 9:27 AM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A general election will be held in Canada on May 2, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Saturday after his minority Conservative government was brought down on a nonconfidence vote in Parliament the day before.

Opposition parties toppled Harper on Friday on the grounds that his government was tainted by sleaze, had managed the economy poorly and was in contempt of Parliament.

Polls show the right-of-center Conservatives are set to retain power in what will be Canada's fourth election in less than seven years.

Harper, in power since 2006 with two successive minority governments, says Canada does not need an election at a time when economic recovery is still fragile.

"Against our advice, the opposition parties have chosen to force an election the country doesn't' want and the economy doesn't need," he told reporters.

Harper spoke after visiting Governor General David Johnston -- the representative of Queen Elizabeth, Canada's head of state -- to seek the dissolution of Parliament.

The prime minister says that unless the Conservatives get a majority, the three opposition parties will form what he calls an unstable and reckless coalition.

Michael Ignatieff, leader of the main opposition Liberal Party, issued a statement on Saturday saying he would not form a coalition with other parties.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)