So the results are in, we have a minority PQ government here in Québec, that is unless there are numerous recounts that result in a number of riding switching hands, which I somehow doubt.
My best guess was that the PQ would win between 60 and 65 seats, and if the 57 seats they're currently showing don't change, well I wasn't too far off. I was surprised somewhat by the strong Liberal performance, (like many) but not shocked. I opted for Québec's Liberals about two weeks ago, but was hesitant to consider Jean Charest getting a late push given that my own bias might be playing a part.
Of course now the question begs. What comes next?
I can see a myriad of possibilities. Will Mme Marois have cabinet positions to offer some members of the CAQ party as an enticement to cross the floor? As the news unfolds I'll be checking to see how many former separatists were elected under the CAQ banner.
I think a lot will depend on the final numbers. Assuming support from Quebec Solidaire's two elected members, the PQ will be tantalizingly close to the magic number of 63 needed to control a majority of the votes in the National Assembly. Still, three is probably just out of reach in terms of luring members from the CAQ.
We shall see, as I say the final numbers will tell the tale. In an election this close I expect there will be some recounts and it might be days before we have the exact final tally. Then there's the possiblity of the CAQ either propping up Marois, or joining forces with the Liberals to force another election.
The bottom line however is that Québec is stronger than the political process, as is the case with Canada as a whole. Whether it ends up being a stridently separatist government, or one where sovereignty takes a back seat, Quebecers will endure.
Perhaps the biggest result is the likely exit of Jean Charest from the political scene. It says here he has nothing to apologize for and history will judge him a masterful politician.