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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Législatives anticipées au Québec

by H.Z.

Quebec gears up for elections

Translated Wednesday 28 February 2007, by David Lundy

Canada. Quebec’s Prime Minister has announced the dissolution of Parliament and called elections for March 26.

Slightly more than one and a half million Quebecois voters have been called to the polls on 26 March after the decision by the Prime Minister, Liberal Jean Charest, to dissolve the provincial parliament of Quebec .

In the outgoing Parliament, the Liberal Party of the Prime Minister holds 72 of the 125 seats, against 45 for the separatist Parti Québecois (PQ) and 5 for l’Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ, right-wing).

Having decided to go ahead with these elections, the Quebecois Prime Minister is taking a serious risk as his party has an absolute majority in the outgoing Parliament. Although surveys give liberals a five point lead over their rivals in the Parti Québecois, the latter hope to use the opportunity to bounce back and raise the question of independence for the province yet again. PQ leader, André Boisclair could not have been clearer. He intends to make sovereignty the main issue in the March 26 poll. He therefore promised on Wednesday to arrange for another referendum on independence for Quebec if he is elected to power. "We want Quebec to be the master of all of its laws, to levy all its taxes and to have the capacity to speak with its own voice on the international scene, without asking permission from anyone", he declared. Regarding the third party, the ADQ, they could be the surprise of this election. With an almost populist discourse incorporating the issue of immigration and criticising the integration model defended by the Parti Quebecois as too tolerant, the ADQ could increase its support, playing into the hands of the Liberal Party.

EN Translation: David Lundy

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