Ignatieff tops first ballot in Canadian Liberal convention

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Stephane Dion, at a Friday rally.
Volpe announcing his withdrawal.

Michael Ignatieff has been confirmed as the front-runner at the Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention following the release of the results of the first ballot. The former Harvard academic leads the field of eight contestants with 1,412 votes (29.3%). As expected, Bob Rae is in second place with 977 vote (20.3%). Stéphane Dion did better than expected and is in a tight battle for third place with Gerard Kennedy with Dion receiving 856 votes (17.8%) two more than Kennedy's 854 votes (17.7%).

Ignatieff, Rae, Dion and Kennedy are considered to be the only candidates with a realsitica possibility of winning this weekend's convention as the other four candidates finished with less than 5% support.

80% of the delegates were committed to vote for specific candidates on the first ballot under the party's delegate selection process. In subsequent ballots, however, delegates will be free to vote for whomever they wish.

The ex-officio delegates who are former Cabinet ministers, MPs and senior party officials, were free to vote as they wished on the first ballot providing an element of uncertainty. The results, however, closely mirrored the allocated vote of committed delegates, however, except for a stronger than expected showing for Dion who placed fourth in committed delegates elected at riding Delegate Selected Meetigns but who finished third in tonight's first ballot, edging out Kennedy, due to the support of ex-officio delegates.

Voting on the second ballot begins Saturday morning at 9am with subsequent ballots occurring throughout the day, as needed, until one candidate emerges with a majority of the vote.

Martha Hall Findlay did better than expected by receiving 130 votes but still finished last on the first ballot and is therefore eliminated by the contest. Prior to the announcement of the results candidate Joe Volpe announced that he would be withdrawing after the first ballot in order to throw his support to Bob Rae.

First Ballot Results
Candidate Elected Delegates Percentage
Michael Ignatieff 1,412 29.3%
Bob Rae 977 20.3%
Stephane Dion 856 17.8%
Gerard Kennedy 854 17.7%
Ken Dryden 238 4.9%
Scott Brison 192 4.0%
Joe Volpe 156 3.2%
Martha Hall Findlay 130 2.7%