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
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