Liberals hit 44... for now

The BC Liberals have gained a slight advantage in the closest race in this year's provincial election.

As tens of thousands of absentee ballots continue to be counted, the Liberals have inched ever so slightly ahead in Courtenay-Comox, the tightest of the 87 ridings up for grabs.

Figures released at noon Tuesday show Liberal candidate Jim Benninger with a slim three-vote edge over NDP contender Ronna-Rae Leonard.

On election night, Leonard held a nine-vote edge over Benninger. That grew to 12 when votes were recounted Monday. The pendulum has swung the other way as absentee ballots are counted, and added to the total.

With counting still going on, the Liberal gap in Richmond-Queensborough has shrunk to just 100 votes.

On election night, the Liberals were one seat short of a skinny majority. They held 43 seats, the NDP 41 and the Green Party three.

About 180,000 absentee ballots are being counted.

Forty-four seats are needed to hold a slim majority.

All votes are expected to be counted and posted by Elections BC by Wednesday.

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