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Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil releases the Liberal platform during a campaign event in Halifax, on May 17, 2017.Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's governing Liberals have won a second majority after a campaign focused on Premier Stephen McNeil's image as a tight-fisted deficit slayer.

Nearly five hours after the polls closed, the Liberals had won at least 26 ridings, the minimum needed for a majority, and were leading in one other riding.

It is the first time a party has won back-to-back majorities in Nova Scotia since 1988.

The Tories were elected or leading in 17 and the NDP were elected in seven ridings.

Liberal party president John Gillis said that no matter the size of the victory, it was clear the voters had sent the Liberals a message about the state of health care in the province.

When the 30-day campaign began, the Liberals held a comfortable lead in the polls, as they had for much of their mandate. But the gap narrowed as Tory Leader Jamie Baillie repeatedly complained about doctor shortages, emergency room closures and a lack of mental-heath services.

All three major party leaders won their seats.

At dissolution, the Liberals held 34 seats in the 51-seat legislature, the Progressive Conservatives had 10 and the NDP 5. There was one Independent and one seat was vacant.