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The countdown is on for the Metis general election in Saskatchewan.

In just four days, a new president will be elected, and 20 other executive positions will be filled. It is the first election in five years, and it is expected to be one of the largest.

The advance polls wrapped up on Saturday, when about 600 ballots were cast. Last week, advance voting also took place in 14 smaller centres around the province, with about 1,200 people voting.

Chief Returning Officer, Loretta Metzger, says interest is high.

“Lots of Metis people feel there is lots on the line this time around,” she said. In 2012, only about 3,000 people cast ballots, that is less than 10 per cent of eligible voters.

Metzger says her office is doing all it can to get people out to vote, and it seems to be paying off.

“We had at least one advance poll in every region of the province,” she said. “I think we had 14 in total, plus we had a number of small mobile polls as well.”

This is seen as a key election. There will be a new president. Nine people are in the running for that job. Former president Robert Doucette did not seek re-election.

Vice President Gerald Morin is running again for the vice president position. The Metis Nation has been fractured for years, with Doucette and Morin butting heads on most everything. Failure to hold required legislative assemblies resulted in the cancellation of federal funding in 2014.

The Metis office is closed, and it has sold off most of its assets to pay the bills. Whoever is elected on Saturday will have the difficult task of setting a new course for the provincial organization.

This comes at a key time, with two recent Supreme Court decisions extending Metis rights and establishing the federal government’s responsibility.

It is estimated that 40 to 45,000 people are eligible to vote in the May 27th Saskatchewan Metis election.