Sask. Party majority government projected, NDP leads in Cumberland early in race

Well, that didn't take very long. Less than 40 minutes after polls officially closed in Saskatchewan, the Canadian Press, along with other Saskatchewan news outlets, are calling the provincial election as a Saskatchewan Party majority.

The results hardly came as a shock, going by the previous provincial legislature, approval ratings for the existing government and polling heading into the election - each of those three factors predicted a clear majority for the Sask. Party. The only question was how many seats the party would win. As of 9:50 p.m. Flin Flon time - 8:50 p.m. Saskatchewan time - the party is leading in 45 of the province's 61 ridings, according to Election Saskatchewan totals.

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In northern Saskatchewan, the situation is different - with both of the main ridings projected as likely NDP victories by pollsters 338 Canada and both ridings featuring NDP incumbents, the NDP currently leads early on in the count. With 20 of 54 polls returning results in the Cumberland riding, NDP incumbent Doyle Vermette currently leads with 438 votes, ahead of Sask. Party challenger Darren Deschambeault who has 254. Green Party candidate Aaron Oochoo has 28 votes so far.

In Athabasca, the other northern riding, NDP stalwart Buckley Belanger is in a tighter race with Sask. Party challenger Kelly Kwan. Belanger currently leads with 210 votes to Kwan's 168, with Green Party candidate Leroy Laliberte a distant third with 36 votes. Eight of 39 polls have reported in the Athabasca riding.

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