British Columbia general election, 1991
The British Columbia general election of 1991 was the 35th provincial election in the Province of
British Columbia, Canada. It was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The election was called on September 19 1991, and held on October 17, 1991. The incumbent Social Credit Party of British Columbia, which had been beset by scandals during Bill Vander Zalm's last term as premier, was defeated by the New Democratic Party of Mike Harcourt. The new legislature met for the first time on March 17 1992. Liberal Party leader Gordon Wilson surprised observersWho|date=June 2008 by leading his party to winning one-third of the votes cast, and forming the official oppositionin the legislature.
Under Vander Zalm's leadership, Socred's control shifted from urban fiscal conservatives to social conservatives, causing the coalition to unravel and pushing many moderates to eventually switch to the Liberals.Fact|date=June 2008 This process was exacerbated by Vander Zalm's eccentricity, and the constant scandals that plagued his government, cumulating in one which was a
conflict of interest. As well, Vander Zalm allowed his principal secretary, David Poole, to amass a substantial amount of power, despite being unelected.Fact|date=June 2008 After Premier Vander Zalm resigned, Socred members voted the lesser-known Rita Johnston, a close ally of Vander Zalm,Fact|date=June 2008 to be their new leader, over Grace McCarthy. ManyWho|date=June 2008 viewed this as a mistake, as Johnston was close to the Vander Zalm legacy; even NDP leader Mike Harcourtadmitted later that he preferred Johnston over McCarthy, as the latter would be a much tougher opponent in an election.Fact|date=June 2008
The third place Liberals gained slightly the polls, due to great resentment against the ruling Socreds and skepticism towards the NDP. A turning point came when Wilson successfully took legal action to be included in the televised leaders'
debate. During the debate Johnston and Harcourt exchanged many bitter attacks, while Wilson, still not considered a serious contender, was able to successfully portray himself as an "outsider" who was above the partisan bickering of the other two parties. Liberal support surged dramatically as a result of Wilson's performance. However, Wilson himself proved unable to consolidate the party's leadership due to inexperience and he was eventually deposed and he crossed to the NDP.
The election was held at the same time as a referendum on recall and initiative. [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/electoral_history/electhistvol2.pdf] It was also the first British Columbia general election with only single-member districts. [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/sov91/foreword.html]
Notes:x - less than 0.005% of the popular vote.
*Party did not nominate candidates in the previous election.
*List of British Columbia political parties
* [http://www.elections.bc.ca/elections/sov91/sov_toc.htm Elections BC 1991 Election]
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