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Quebecers head to polls in historical election
www.chinaview.cn 2007-03-27 02:04:50
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°§Voters went to the polls in a historical election that may influence national politics.
°§The election may result in the first minority provincial government since 1878.
°§About 5.5 million Quebecers are eligible to vote.

    OTTAWA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Voters in Canada's French-speaking province of Quebec went to the polls Monday in a historical election that may influence national politics.

    The election may result in the first minority provincial government since 1878, as previous polls have suggested. Either the Federalist Liberals led by Premier Jean Charest or the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) led by Andre Boisclair will win, but only with a minority.

    A recent poll conducted by the Strategic Counsel suggested 30 percent of voters support the Liberals, compared with 31 percent for the PQ and Mario Dumont's Action Democratique du Quebec (ADQ) with 28 percent.

    That result could reduce the possibility of a new referendum to almost zero. Boisclair had expected ADQ to shore him off in bringing a referendum, but Dumont has rejected that idea, saying he only seeks autonomy for the province.

    Quebec held two referendums on separation in 1980 and 1995, and the federalists won the second one by a narrow margin.

    The election may also influence national politics and prompt Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call a federal election to seek a majority, taking advantage of the gains that may be made by ADQ.

    Polls have suggest ADQ will be the biggest winner of the election. The areas where Dumont's ADQ is doing well are also areas where the federal Conservatives did well in the 2006 campaign, or could do well in the next federal election, some analysts have said.

    Growth for his party in Quebec and Ontario are seen as crucial to the federal Conservatives' quest to form a majority national government.

    Polling stations opened at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time and will close at 8 p.m. in all of Quebec's 125 ridings.

    About 5.5 million Quebecers are eligible to vote. More than 10 percent of them have already cast their votes during advance polling held on March 18-19.

    Advance ballots will be counted at the same time as regular ballots Monday evening.

Analysis:

Quebec election may avert referendum on separation from Canada

    OTTAWA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- More than 5.6 million voters in Canada's French-speaking province of Quebec are heading to the polls on Monday in a race that is too close to call.

    The election could result in a minority government in Quebec for the first time since 1878, yet hold off another referendum in the province on separation from Canada, analysts say. Full story

Editor: Luan Shanglin
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