Liberals and Conservatives were neck-and-neck in the polls as voting started in Canada's general election Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces a hard fight to win a second term as Canada's leader.
Who are the candidates?
Canada has 21 registered political parties, but most are fringe and only six have party leaders running as candidates in this election cycle.
From left: Elizabeth May, Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Maxime Bernier, Yves-Francois Blanchet and Jagmeet Singh
What are the issues?
This election cycle has had an atypically strong focus on candidates over policy. While health care and the environment are among the important topics, the vote is largely seen as a referendum on Trudeau, whose first term has included a national carbon tax, the legalization of marijuana, and the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline project. He also brokered a new trade deal with Mexico and the US and oversaw a strong economy.
Scheer, meanwhile, has been criticized for holding dual US-Canadian citizenship as well for embellishing aspects of his resume.
The minority parties have made a lot of headway in recent weeks, which is likely to translate into underwhelming support for the two main parties and no majority winner.
How does the election process work?
Canada has a first-past-the-post system for its 338 "ridings," or voter districts. The candidate with the most votes wins the parliamentary seat for that riding.
A party can form a majority government if it wins 170 seats or more, even if it receives less than half the votes.
If a party wins the most seats, but the total is less than 170, it can form a minority government with a smaller party.
If neither of the two main parties wins more than 170 seats, Trudeau as the incumbent prime minister has the first shot at forming a minority government, even if the conservatives win more seats overall.
What is the likely outcome?
Conservatives and Liberals have been effectively tied for weeks, with polls showing both parties winning around 33% of the vote.
Pollsters don't expect either to win a majority government. Conservatives would be likely to ally with the Bloc Quebecois in a minority government scenario while the New Democratic Party could be a minority partner for the Liberals.
It's been 84 years since a first-term prime minister with a parliamentary majority, as Trudeau currently has, did not win reelection.
When are the results in?
Final polls will close in British Columbia at 7 p.m. (2 a.m. UTC). Preliminary results are expected Monday evening in Canada.