It doesn’t carry as much heft as it did back in 1976 when the Rene Levesque-led Parti Quebecois captured their first electoral victory, but tonight Quebeckers voted to hand the reins of power to Pauline Marois and her PQ colleagues. In the process, Marois makes history by becoming the province’s first female premier. But it was only by the slimmest margins.
With 31.9 per cent of the popular vote, the PQ won 54 seats. The Liberals, meanwhile, received 31.1 per cent of the vote, and won 50 seats; while the Coalition Avenir Quebec under leader Francois LeGault captured 19 seats with 27 per cent of the popular vote.
As far as the PQ’s separatist agenda goes, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. In her victory speech, which was cut short by a disturbance, Marois pledged to press Quebec’s demands for greater sovereignty in Ottawa. That’s likely to go over like a lead balloon with the federal Conservatives. And if Harper is in a particularly Machiavallian mood, he might even welcome a confrontation. With only five Quebec MPs, the Conservatives don’t really have anything to lose by alienating hardcore separtists in the province, but by doing so, they could put federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, with his 59 member Quebec caucus, in an extremely tricky spot.
You can read more about the election on CBC.