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Premier expected to call Newfoundland and Labrador election tonight

Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, arrives to appear as a witness at a Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in the Senate of Canada Building in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is meeting with the province’s lieutenant-governor, and is expected to announce tonight that an early election will be held in mid-May.

The youngest province has been in pre-election mode for weeks after Ball promised to send voters to the polls before the end of June.

The former pharmacist and businessman won power in 2015, with Tory Leader Ches Crosbie and NDP Leader Alison Coffin new to their jobs in the last year.

Ball’s Liberal government tabled an optimistic budget Tuesday, with a lower deficit, nearly $600 million in infrastructure spending and no tax hikes.

Recent polling suggests the Liberals are in for a tight race, with the Progressive Conservatives trailing close behind and the NDP a distant third.

The Liberals took power as frustrated voters booted the long-ruling Tories in 2015 but Ball’s government has had a rough ride facing down a dire financial situation since then.

The Canadian Press