The CAQ has sailed to victory in Quebec with the largest majority for decades
François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec has now won back-to-back provincial elections, securing a landslide victory on Monday and a government with an even larger majority.
The CAQ was elected in 86 ridings and in the lead in three others, as of 12:37 a.m. ET. This gives him the largest majority government the province has seen in decades. The party entered the election campaign with 76 seats – 63 are needed for a majority.
While some votes remain to be counted, the other leaders have already conceded and Legault addressed his supporters at his party’s headquarters on election night in Quebec City to celebrate his victory.
“We have received a clear message [tonight]. Quebecers sent a strong message, Quebecers told us ‘Let’s continue!’ said Legault in reference to his party’s campaign slogan.
The CAQ became the first party other than the Quebec Liberals or the Parti Québécois to win back-to-back majorities since 1956.
The party succeeded in increasing its majority without increasing its footprint in Montreal. In 2018, the CAQ only won two seats on the island. This time, when all the votes are counted, there may be only one constituency.
Province-wide, a large CAQ majority has always seemed the most likely outcome, even with Legault and his party making headlines during the campaign with controversial statements on immigration. The Prime Minister apologized for a statement that linked immigrants to extremism and violence.
“A divisive election,” Legault said. “Quebecers form a great people and when I say that Quebecers form a great people, I mean all Quebecers from all regions, of all ages, of all origins. I will be the premier of all Quebecers.
With the Liberals leading or elected in 23 ridings, the party will once again finish in second place and likely form the Official Opposition, four years after its devastating defeat in 2018. Québec solidaire won 10 seats, the same total as ‘Four years ago.
For the first time in five elections, the party, led by co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, failed to increase its presence in the National Assembly.
The number of PQ seats has dropped and the party is left with only three constituencies. The Quebec Conservatives did not win a single seat, despite significantly improving their share of the popular vote.
Legault’s party entered this campaign with a considerable lead in the polls, leaving their main opponents to essentially fight for second place.
Inflation, health care and immigration were among the issues that dominated the five-week campaign. For 36 days, the CAQ campaigned under the slogan « Continues », in French for « Continons ».
The centre-right party – co-founded by Legault in 2011 – has presented itself as the experienced choice to continue building the province’s economy, fix its faltering healthcare system and guard against the decline of the French language.
A second straight majority for Legault’s party means the province is further removed from the traditional debate over federalism and sovereignty with the Liberals and PQ as the two main parties.
For years, the CAQ has succeeded in attracting a large number of Quebecers from all political stripes, according to Lisa Birch, associate professor at Laval University in Quebec.
“The CAQ has been very successful in targeting the kind of median voter who is centre-right on economic policy and public finance, but still leans a little left to make sure we have investments in the education and health care, » Birch told CBC. New.
The party’s first term was largely defined by its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 16,700 Quebecers have died from the disease.
Although the government has come under scrutiny for its pandemic policies, which have included vaccination passports, business and school closures and nighttime curfews, the public health emergency has also put a biggest spotlight on Legault and his party.
His daily briefings to the media and the public left little room for opposition parties to participate in the discourse on public health measures. And Legault’s long-term use of emergency measure powers ensured there was little scrutiny or debate in the National Assembly.
Dominique Anglade of the Quebec Liberals and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon of the Parti Québécois – both candidates in the Montreal area – became the leaders of their parties in the first year of the pandemic.
During the first term of the Legault government, it passed the controversial Religious Symbols Act, known as Bill 21, and the reform of the Charter of the French Language, known as Bill 96. The CAQ government used the notwithstanding clause to shield both laws from Charter challenges. , but they are both being argued in court.
At dissolution, the Liberals formed the Official Opposition with 27 seats. Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois had 10 and 7 seats respectively. The Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) had one.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Legault on his victory.
Congratulation, @FrancoisLegault. We’ve been working together for years now – to create good jobs, take climate action and improve the lives of Quebecers – and I look forward to continuing this work and achieving even more results for Quebecers.
All leaders win seats except Duhaime
The Prime Minister also won his seat in L’Assomption.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, won his seat in the Montreal riding of Gouin. Anglade will continue to be the Member of Parliament for the riding of Saint-Henri–Saint-Anne. Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, the leader of the Parti Québécois, defeated incumbent CAQ Richard Campeau to win in Camille-Laurin, located in eastern Montreal.
The leader of the PCQ, Éric Duhaime, did not win the riding of Chauveau, located in the Quebec region.
While the final turnout is still unclear, it appears to be similar to the previous election, when 66.45% of eligible Quebec voters cast their ballots.
This election, a record 1.54 million (24.4%) of the 6.29 million registered voters voted at the advance polls, compared to 18% in the last provincial election.