Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No winners in Quebec's election, only losers

Its hard to discern any winners after yesterday's election here in Québec.  

Sure Pauline Marois' Parti Québecois will form the next government, but despite polling showing the PQ on the cusp of winning the 63 seats needed for a clear majority, they fell well short at 54 with only 32% of the popular vote. If they could have won even 60 or 61, Mme Marois' position would have been one of strength. Instead she's left in charge of a weak minority government that will have to placate either the Liberals or CAQ to remain in power. 

François Legault's CAQ party was looking for a breakthrough, and while 19 seats is a decent showing, they're right now very much a 3rd party. With the PQ and the Liberals holding 54 and 50 seats respectively the challenge will be for Monsieur Legault to attract the attention of voters and build on this result for a stronger showing in the next election. 

Québec Solidaire won the two seats most pollsters predicted for this nascent separatist party. But with the PQ in a weak minority position, at best all they can do is try to prop up an already wobbly table. 

And that leaves the Liberals, who went from majority rule to opposition with leader Jean Charest failing to hold on to his own seat. Had Monsieur Charest managed to win in Sherbrooke the Liberals could have put a positive spin on things by saying they substantially beat expectations. Hard to push that script however when the leader of the party doesn't even have a seat in the legislature. Obviously Mr. Charest is contemplating his future.

Perhaps a run at for the federal Liberal leadership?

So there are no real winners, except perhaps voters. With elected officials on a short leash hopefully we'll get responsible government.

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