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Canada To Avoid Immediate Election

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TORONTO — One of Canada's opposition parties said Tuesday it will prop up Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government in a no-confidence vote this week, averting an immediate election.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said his party will vote for the government's key budget bill Friday because there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

The news that Canada won't have an immediate election comes as Harper prepares to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

The development means Harper's Conservative government will survive at least until the first week of October, when the main opposition Liberals plan to introduce their own no-confidence motion.

The opposition New Democrats are also expected to support Harper on Friday in order to push through government legislation on unemployment benefits, which they suggested this week they would support.

Government failure to pass a budget motion Friday could have forced a fourth election in just over five years and the second in a year, if the Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic and Liberal parties had then voted to bring down the government.

Harper's Conservative Party was re-elected last fall with a strengthened minority government, but still must rely on the opposition to pass legislation and to stay in power.

The three opposition parties hold the majority of the seats in Parliament with 162, while the Conservatives have 143. There is also one independent MP.

A vote on a budget matter is an automatic confidence vote and can trigger an election if it is defeated. The opposition can also introduce specific no-confidence votes.

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