Monday, September 3, 2012

Quebec may elect first female premier on Sept. 4

Quebeckers go to the polls Sept. 4 to elect a new government. Predictions are that the Parti Quebecois will win making Pauline Marois the first female premier of the province.
The Globe and Mail relying on projections by are predicting a minority or majority Parti Quebecois victory in Tuesday's election. However, as with the Alberta provincial election a big surprise is quite possible. A huge 28% of those surveyed in a recent Leger poll said that they might change their vote before they actually voted. Depending on how many actually change and in what direction any of the three top parties could actually win including the declining Liberals.
The final projections by the Globe source gave the PQ 34.1% of the vote and from 57 to 75 seats. The more likely result is given as 63 seats. The range of results could result in a minority or majority government. The Liberals are predicted to gain 27.9% support and between 25 and 39 seats with the more likely being 33. This would be the worst Liberal result since the PQ won in Quebec in 1976.
The Liberals might not even form the official opposition as the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) has 26.3% of the vote and should win between 20 and 31 seats. The most likely result is 27 seats The CAQ has been draining off anglophone votes from the Liberals. Of course the result may not always be a win for the CAQ but for the PQ in some constituencies.
The Liberals are heavy favorites in the Montreal area and still will probably form the opposition but Jean Charest the Liberal leader and premier may not be around to lead his party as polls show him losing in his own riding of Sherbrooke.
Quebec Solidaire a left separatist party is predicted to win one or two seats and almost double its vote from last election. The leader Amir Khadir appears headed for re-election and the co-leader may also win a seat. A final new separatist party backed by former Premier Jaques Parizeau is unlikely to win a seat and the same is true of the Green Party.
Polls show that the PQ has 37% support among francophone voters compared to just 30% for the CAQ and 20% for Liberals. However the Liberals have 61% support among non-francophones. The PQ needs to capture ridings in the suburbs of Montreal to gain a majority government. The projected range in seats is large from 15 to 24 seats. In the suburbs the Liberals trail both the CAQ and PQ badly.
The leader of the CAQ Francois Legault said that the race in Quebec was between the CAQ and the PQ. Stealing some of Jean Charest's rhetoric used to convince anglophones to vote for him, Legault said that a vote for the PQ would be a vote for a referendum on Quebec sovereignty in the near future. Perhaps this may sway some anglophone voters and also francophone voters who do not want a referendum at this time.
While the Globe and Mail seems fairly confident in their predictions they could be quite wrong and Quebec could turn out to be another Alberta.

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