The Québec provincial election Monday, March 26, 2007 was very unpredictable. The results have expanded the political landscape to a new level. It now features a credible right wing and the ever-present fear of a referendum (vote of independence) went off the board completely.
The right wing party, the ADQ, went from holding a mere five seats before the election to the opposition, leapfrogging the PQ in the process.
Liberal leader Jean Charest remained as premier, but with a 48 seat (out of 125 seats in the legislature) minority. Mario Dumont, leader of the Action Democratique du Québec (ADQ) has 41 seats and Andre Boisclair of the Parti Québécois (PQ) with 36 seats is close behind.
This became the first Québec minority government of the last 130 years.
Commentators noted the close relationship between Charest and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, without dwelling on the fact that Charest used to be a (Progressive) Conservative. "It was merely a relationship of convenience, both came from regional interests," said Professor Ruho Paluoja, who worked on Charest's campaign when he ran unsuccessfully for the party leadership against Kim Campbell after Brian Mulroney's resignation. He added, "Charest certainly was not a (former Premier Mike) Harris conservative."
"The closer relationship comes from the fact that Harper's ten federal Québec seats (gained in the last federal election) were due to ADQ organizers and supporters¬in the Québec City region (an area where Dumont showed strength on Monday)," said Paluoja.
If Dumont shows his mettle as Leader of Opposition and Québec's direction holds, then the odds of him becoming the next premier are clearly in his favour.
The Québec election (1)