OTTAWA, June 16 (Reuters) - Another election campaign could begin in Canada as early as Saturday, just eight months after the last, but that possibility has become more remote in the last 24 hours as the political temperature cooled.
Here are some questions and answers on the political turmoil:
WHERE IS THE ELECTORAL THREAT COMING FROM?
* Opposition leader Michael Ignatieff threatened on Monday to bring the minority Conservative down in a budgetary vote on Friday unless he got satisfactory answers in four areas
* He says he must see a plan to make it easier to get jobless benefits, a plan for getting the budget back into surplus, an accounting of what stimulus money has been spent and will be spent soon, and a report on where Canada will get the medical isotopes necessary for heart and cancer tests.
CAN HE BRING THE GOVERNMENT DOWN ALONE?
* Technically, no. His Liberal Party would need the support of the two other opposition parties, but they both have already said they would vote against the government, so the Liberals effectively hold the fate of the government in their hands.
HOW LIKELY IS AN ELECTION NOW?
* Much less likely than it had seemed on Monday at midday after Ignatieff laid down his ultimatum to the government.
* First of all, Ignatieff said on Monday evening that some progress had already been made after conciliatory remarks at a news conference by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
* Second, Ignatieff and Harper had one meeting on Tuesday, which both sides described as productive, and scheduled a second one for later in the day.
* Ignatieff could still in theory break off talks but it would be difficult to ratchet the rhetoric back up after having said that progress had been made on at least a couple of the main issues and that talks had been productive.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LIBERALS BACK DOWN?
* No election will be held before November.
* Parliament is scheduled to adjourn for the summer either on June 19 or June 23 and only return in late September. That means no election would be possible to be held before November or December.
* It would require an opposition non-confidence motion, another budgetary measure or some other measure the government would say was a matter of confidence for the government to be defeated.
WHAT IF THE LIBERALS GO FOR IT?
* The law requires a campaign of at least five weeks. The most likely date for an election in this case would be July 27. A less likely possibility would be Aug. 4.
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