(CNSNews.com) - Despite opinion polls showing it would be a close race, Canadian voters re-elected Prime Minister Jean Chretien of the Liberal Party to a third consecutive term in office. He defeated Stockwell Day of the conservative Canadian Alliance Party.
Liberals made gains in Canada's Parliament as well, particularly in the Eastern provinces. They now hold 171 seats in Canada's 301-seat parliament.
Analysts describe voter turnout as "moderate."
Chretien was elated at his re-election. "It's an incredible opportunity to receive a mandate like this. I pledge to work hard every single day throughout the whole of this mandate to continue to earn your trust and support."
The Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper had a banner headline, "The Little Guy Wins Big."
Day took his defeat in stride, telephoning Chretien to congratulate him on his victory. Day later told supporters, "He (Chretien) has earned the right and the trust to govern. It is clear that even with our increased support across the country, the message to us is not yet. Not this time."
Day had campaigned on a platform of lower taxes and smaller government. Analysts say Day came under heavy criticism for his conservative views on abortion, the death penalty and creationism.