Stephen McNeil’s Liberals will form the next government in Nova Scotia -- but with a slim majority of seats.

With approximately 99 per cent of votes counted, McNeil’s Liberals were leading or elected in 27 seats, while Jamie Baillie’s Progressive Conservatives were leading or elected in 17 seats and Gary Burrill’s New Democrats were leading or elected in 7 seats.

A party needs 26 seats for a majority in the 51-seat legislature.

McNeil managed the victory despite a campaign against him by public sector unions and accusations from both Burrill and Baillie that the province’s health care system is in crisis.

In his victory speech -- offered before it was clear his majority would hold – McNeil said he will work with Burrill and Baillie to continue to move the province forward.

McNeil said the campaign was about keeping the province “sustainable” for future generations.

“We need to build a stronger economy so more of our daughters and sons can live and raise their families here in Nova Scotia,” he said.

McNeil later told CTV News that his “goal is to reintroduce that budget exactly as it was.”

PC Leader Jamie Baillie said in a speech shortly after midnight that the results showed Nova Scotians are not happy with the McNeil government.

Baillie also said that “the people of Nova Scotia are saying they want their political parties to work together and we get that message.”

NDP Leader Gary Burrill addressed the possibility of a minority government in his concession speech, delivered before 11 p.m., saying the NDP campaigned on “major investments in the lives of our people.”

“A government that is prepared to move forward in such investments will find in us a diligent and strong ally,” Burrill said. “And a government that fails to move forward with such investments will find that it has to contend in a serious way with our opposition.”

Burrill had campaigned on going into deficit in order to afford more services like more doctors, nurses and child care, while McNeil and Baillie had vowed to fix health care and balance the province’s budget without increasing a debt that already tops $15 billion.

University of Toronto Political Science Lecturer Pauline Beange told CTV News Channel earlier Tuesday that the province’s high debt “is going to limit whatever party is going to be in power, unless they come up with some very creative ways to cut expenses.”

Low turnout

Voter turnout was at an all-time low in Nova Scotia, at 54 per cent, representing a drop from the 58 per cent turnout in 2013, 59 per cent in 2009, 62 per cent in 2006 and 69 per cent in 1998.