Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is fighting for his political life today as the country goes to the polls in a closely-fought general election.
Although seen as a liberal icon abroad, Mr Trudeau has seen his popularity slide at home and was damaged by a series of embarrassing blackface and brownface photos which emerged during the campaign.
His Liberal party, which came to power in 2015, is now neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in opinion polls and predicted to lose its majority.
A close result may leave no clear winner, forcing Mr Trudeau or his challenger Andrew Scheer into tricky coalition talks with other parties.
Not since 1935 has a first-term Canadian prime minister with a parliamentary majority lost a bid for re-election.
Fighting for his political life: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a rally in Ontario in the closing days of the country’s general election campaign
Challenger: Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, pictured at an event in Toronto on Saturday, is hoping to unseat Mr Trudeau after just one term in office
Like Britain, Canada elects MPs under a first-past-the-post system and the leader of the largest party will usually form the next government.
A polling average calculated by CBC put the Liberals on 32.0 per cent and the Conservatives on 31.6 per cent on the eve of polling.
According to their projection, Mr Trudeau’s party is on course to lose its overall majority but may still hold the most seats.
In that event, the incumbent Mr Trudeau is expected to turn to the smaller New Democrats to stay in power.
If the Conservatives win the most seats they will probably try to form a government with Quebec’s separatist Bloc Quebecois party.
Internationally, Mr Trudeau has been viewed as a beacon of liberal hope in the era of Donald Trump.
His victory in 2015 ended nearly 10 years of Conservative government in Canada and he has embraced immigration when other countries are closing their doors.
Working the crowd: Mr Trudeau, who came to power in 2015, takes a selfie on a visit to Tilbury, Ontario in the final week of the election campaign
Rally: The Liberal leader and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau among placard-waving supporters on a visit to London, Ontario, last week
The 47-year-old leader has also channelled the star power of his father, Liberal Party icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
In 2017, the current PM even appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in the U.S. under the headline ‘Why Can’t He Be Our President?’
However, his approval ratings have fallen during his four years in power and some Canadians have grown weary of what they see as his flashy style.
Last month three old photos emerged showing Mr Trudeau wearing blackface and brownface as a younger man, undermining his progressive credentials.
Hours after he apologized for wearing brown make-up on his face, neck and hands while wearing a turban and robe at an Arabian Nights gala in 2001, two more images surfaced depicting similar offensive scenes.
Mr Trudeau issued a second apology for the two additional images, saying that though he did not remember the third incident, he understood it was ‘unacceptable’.
He was also hit by scandal when his former attorney general said he pressured her to halt the prosecution of a Quebec company.
The PM has said he was standing up for jobs, but the damage gave a boost to Mr Scheer’s Conservatives.
Scandal: Mr Trudeau’s campaign was rocked by this yearbook photo showing him in brownface at a party in 2001. It was quickly followed by two further blackface pictures
Mr Trudeau also brought in a carbon tax to fight climate change but rescued a stalled pipeline expansion project to get Alberta’s oil to international markets.
He also negotiated a new free trade deal for Canada with the U.S. and Mexico amid threats by President Donald Trump to scrap it.
Sensing trouble for Mr Trudeau, former U.S. President Barack Obama chimed in with an unusual endorsement to back the Liberal leader for re-election.
At final campaign stops in British Columbia on Sunday, Mr Trudeau called for a ‘strong, progressive government that will unite Canadians and fight climate change’.
His challenger Mr Scheer, 40, is a career politician described as bland even by some of his own party colleagues.
However, his allies hope his prudent, minivan-driving dad persona will appeal to Canadians weary of Mr Trudeau.
The Conservative leader calls Mr Trudeau a phony who can not even recall how many times he has worn blackface.
Canadians ‘cannot afford’ a Liberal government propped up by the third-place New Democrats, Mr Scheer said at the end of a marathon last push from coast to coast.
Election battle: Justin Trudeau (pictured at a fire station in Hamilton, Ontario on Saturday) may be forced to negotiate with smaller parties or turfed out of power altogether
Rival: Andrew Scheer’s allies hope his prudent, minivan-driving dad persona will appeal to Canadians weary of Mr Trudeau
‘We can only imagine what the NDP’s price would be to keep Justin Trudeau in power,’ he said.
‘Whatever it is, we know Trudeau would pay any price to stay in power and he’d use your money to do it.’
Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier and a close friend of Mr Scheer, has called the Conservative leader ‘an extremely normal Canadian’ who is so nice he ‘can’t fake being mean’.
Mr Scheer, however, has so relentlessly attacked Mr Trudeau that Nik Nanos, a Canadian pollster, said he has not been himself.
‘Scheer has been hostage to the message,’ Mr Nanos said. ‘His campaign has made him into an attack machine.’
Mr Scheer has found himself on the back foot late in the campaign over revelations of his American dual citizenship.
There have also been allegations that his party hired a communications firm to ‘destroy’ the upstart People’s Party, led by former Conservative foreign minister Maxime Bernier.
Mr Trudeau has accused the Conservatives of running one of the ‘dirtiest, nastiest’ election campaigns.
Endorsement: Mr Trudeau’s campaign received backing from former U.S. President Barack Obama (pictured together in November 2016)
Backing: Former President Obama chimed in on Twitter to offer his support to his former counterpart in an unusual intervention
The nation’s top bureaucrat earlier this year warned that public discourse had fallen to such a low level that he ‘worried that somebody is going to be shot… during the political campaign.’
At one rally, Mr Trudeau was forced to wear a bulletproof vest.
At a rally on Saturday there were chants of ‘lock him up’ when Mr Scheer said he would investigate the attorney general row – echoing the chant used by Trump supporters against Hillary Clinton.
However, Mr Scheer moved to calm the crown and changed the chant to ‘Vote him out’.
Mr Scheer is also promising to end the carbon tax and cut government spending, including foreign aid, by 25 per cent.
‘That money belongs to you, not to them,’ Mr Scheer said.
Because of Canada’s extreme size, the largest electoral district, Nunavut, is several times larger than the UK.
Preliminary results across six time zones are expected shortly after 7pm Ottawa time (7pm on the U.S. East Coast, midnight in Britain).