Toronto, Canada’s governing Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau has grabbed the early lead in the country’s 44th national election with 1 percent of the vote counted, according to official results.

The Liberals currently lead in 24 ridings mostly across Atlantic Canada – a traditional Liberal stronghold – leading the Conservatives, who are ahead in 9 ridings, and the Bloc Quebecois which has an early lead in one of Quebec’s electoral districts. In the early stages, the Liberals are commanding 42.8 percent of support, followed by the Tories with 34.0 percent.

All 338 of Canada’s House of Commons seats are up for grabs with the winner of the election declared based on a contentious first-past-the-post system, where candidates with the highest number of votes win without any further runoff ballots. At least 170 seats are needed to form a majority government, although most projections currently point to a minority government.

The race comes down to sitting Prime Minister Trudeau and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, with most projections showing the Liberals and Tories locked in a tight battle, although some pollsters are indicating that the incumbent Liberals are pulling away.

(EW correspondent)