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Peter MacKay leading after first ballot in Conservative leadership race

Last Updated Aug 23, 2020 at 10:05 pm PST

FILE -- Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Peter MacKay speaks during the English debate in Toronto on Thursday, June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Summary

The long-time minister is leading after a much-delayed vote for a new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Nearly 270,000 party members were eligible to vote in the race, and upwards of 175,000 ultimately cast a ballot

OTTAWA — Peter MacKay is leading after the first round in the federal Conservative leadership race — a result revealed almost seven hours later than planned.

Derek Sloan’s name will now be dropped off the ballot and his supporters’ votes recounted.

Nearly 270,000 party members were eligible to vote in the race, and upwards of 175,000 ultimately cast a ballot.

The early results came after midnight Monday, as machines tasked with slicing envelopes malfunctioned and several thousand ballots had to be replicated by hand under the close eye of scrutineers throughout Sunday evening.

The eventual winner’s first major task will be to guide the party through a confidence vote next month in the House of Commons, a job that will prove more challenging if MacKay wins, as he does not have a seat.

At the same time, the new party leader will have to focus on bringing together the various factions that developed over the course of the sometimes fractious campaign.