Victory unlikely to signal fresh push for independence
THE separatist party won Tuesday’s provincial election, but failed to win a majority of legislative seats. Although the Parti Québécois wants the province to break away from Canada, its victory is unlikely to signal a new push for independence.
Opinion polls show little appetite for a separatist referendum. Previous polls on separatism were rejected by voters in 1980 and 1995.
Ms Marois herself has left much uncertainty about if and when a referendum would be held, but her party will push for greater autonomy. The PQ has said it would seek a transfer of powers from the federal government in areas such as employment insurance and immigration policy. If those measures are rejected, the party believes it would have a stronger case for independence.
Without a majority in the Quebec Assembly, however, the PQ will need to work with other parties to pass legislation, and the results will undermine efforts to hold a referendum on separation in the near term.
The PQ had just under 31 per cent of the vote and 54 seats in the provincial legislature, falling short of the 63 of the 125 seats needed to form a majority in the assembly. The Liberals had about 31 per cent and 50 seats. A new party, Coalition Avenir Quebec, followed with 19 seats. The separatist Quebec Solidaire party won two seats.
Although a number of candidates from the smaller parties are separatists, a minority government means “the more radical things in the party platform are going to be dead on arrival,” said Bruce Hicks, a political science professor at Concordia University in Montreal.
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