At stake in this election:
- 308 seats in the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes)
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: Queen ELIZABETH II *
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Stephen HARPER
- Assembly: Canada has a bicameral Parliament (Parlement) consisting of the Senate (Sénat) with 105 seats and the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes) with 308 seats.
* The Queen is represented by Governor-General David Lloyd JOHNSTON.
Description of electoral system:
- The Queen is hereditary.
- The Prime Minister is designated by the governor-general to serve a 5-year term.**
- In the Senate (Sénat) 105 members are appointed by the governor-general*. In the House of Commons (Chambre des Communes) 308 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms.**
** The Governor-General usually appoints the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition.
* Members are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. No terms are set, and Senators may serve in office until the age of 75.
** According to the 2003 Representation Order, there are currently 308 electoral districts, and, according to the Constitution, one seat is allocated per electoral district. The duration of the House of Commons cannot exceed five years, except under special circumstances, including real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Party: Conservative Party of Canada / Parti conservateur du Canada
Leader: Stephen Joseph HARPER
Seats won in last House of Commons election: 143
- Party: Liberal Party of Canada / Parti libéral du Canada
Leader: Michael Grant IGNATIEFF
Seats won in last House of Commons election: 77
- List: (BQ) / Bloc Québécois
Leader: Gilles DUCEPPE
Seats won in last House of Commons election: 49
- Party: New Democratic Party (NDP) / Nouveau Parti démocratique
Leader: John Gilbert LAYTON
Seats won in last House of Commons election: 37
- Party: Green Party of Canada / Parti vert du Canada
Leader: Elizabeth MAY
Seats won in last House of Commons election: 0
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 31,612,897 (May 2011 )
- Registered Voters: 24,257,592 (May 2011 )