Quebecers go to the polls to elect the next provincial government

Quebecers head to the polls Monday after a five-week provincial election campaign dominated by issues like immigration, the environment and the rising cost of living.

Polls suggest Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault is close to achieving a second majority, with support more than 20 percentage points higher than his closest rival.

Legault faces a crowded field including the Quebec Liberals, Quebec solidaire, the Parti Québécois and the Conservative Party of Quebec, all of which are in the teenage polls.

Party leaders spent the weekend criss-crossing the province making a final speech to undecided voters and ensuring their party supporters get to the polls in today’s general election.

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Party leaders work to secure the vote on the final day of campaigning

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Legault voted early last week, while the other party leaders will vote and await the results after polls close at 8 p.m.

When the summer legislature adjourned, Legault’s party had 76 seats, while the Quebec Liberals had 27, Quebec solidaire had 10, and the Parti Quebecois had seven. The Conservative Party of Quebec held one seat and there were four independents.

Legault’s victory in the 2018 provincial election marked the beginning of a new era in Quebec politics after nearly 50 years of bipartisan federalist versus separatist rule.

This time around, Legault is the starter and offers continuity rather than change.

With the campaign slogan “Keep going! », the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec has promised to reduce taxes, increase benefits for the elderly and fight against the rising cost of living. But Legault has faced criticism over controversial comments on immigration, as well as accusations from rivals that he is not concerned enough about climate change.

READ MORE: Votes in Quebec: Advance voting nearly doubles from last election

Pundits say that while anything but a Legault win would come as a surprise, there’s still plenty to watch on election night. This includes the plight of once-dominant Quebec Liberals and the Parti Québécois, who are battling to retain support in ridings they once saw as strongholds.

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The Quebec Conservatives are hoping for a breakthrough after winning less than 2% of the popular vote in 2018, while Quebec solidaire hopes to translate its popularity among young voters into an increase in seats.

With tight two-way and three-way races in several ridings, voter turnout could prove crucial. Turnout in the last Quebec provincial election in 2018 was 66.45%, down nearly 5% from the previous election.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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