The 2019 Prince Edward Island general election was held to elect the members of the 66th General Assembly of Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada. The vote in 26 of the 27 districts was held on 23 April 2019, while the vote for the member from Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park was deferred to 15 July due to the death of the Green Party’s candidate. However, Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park still voted in a referendum on electoral reform. Natalie Jameson won the deferred election in the riding.
The Progressive Conservatives under new leader Dennis King won twelve seats to form a minority government. The Greens under leader Peter Bevan-Baker won eight seats to form the Opposition. The Liberals under Premier Wade MacLauchlan were reduced to six seats and MacLauchlan lost in his own district. The Progressive Conservatives’ share of the popular vote was steady at 37%, the Green Party enjoyed a 20 point increase to 31%, and the Liberals’ share dropped 11 points to 30%. The Greens won several seats in or near the two cities of Charlottetown and Summerside, while the Progressive Conservatives took several more rural seats from the Liberals.
A referendum on electoral reform that asked Islanders if they wished to adopt a mixed-member proportional representation voting system was held in conjunction with the election. The initiative failed to pass in at least 60% of the districts as required under provincial legislation to proceed however it was not binding for either option since neither received majority support. The Island-wide popular vote showed about 51% of voters voted to stay with the current first-past-the-post voting system while about 49% voted for the proposed change.
The election results represented the first time since the 1890 Prince Edward Island general election that the province elected a minority government, the first time in the province’s history that a significant number of voters turned to a third party besides the dominant Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, and the first time that a Green Party reached official opposition status in any Canadian legislature.
Sources and further reading:
PEI Green Party support surges ahead of election year