Rumors of early elections, François Legault denies
Rumors are circulating that Prime Minister François Legault could call a snap election. This is false, says Mr. Legault, who assures that the elections will take place in October as planned.
Speculation began when the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) sent an invitation to the media, including Métro, to reserve a seat on its campaign buses. The rumors then started, as this invitation arrived several months before the start of the electoral campaign.
“The next general elections will take place next fall,” assured Premier François Legault, according to several journalists present at the National Assembly.
The opposition parties are still preparing for this eventuality. The Liberal leader, Dominique Anglade, notably participated in a photo session in view of the elections. “François Legault has accustomed us to saying one thing one day, the opposite the next,” she said. “We want there to be elections that end on October 3. It’s what we want, but there’s no guarantee of that. And, once again, the government’s response has not been clear.
Québec solidaire expects the elections to be held in the fall. “But if Mr. Legault wants to break the law and participate in early elections in the spring, we will also be ready,” said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, in English.
Advancing on the rumors of early elections, the PQ Pascal Bérubé asks François Legault to “stop calculating the triggering of the election date according to his interests”.
Against the law
Under amendments to the Elections Act in 2013, elections are held on a fixed date in Quebec. However, the government can use certain provisions to bring the elections forward.
“Concretely, to end a legislature before the scheduled date, the government must issue a decree ordering the dissolution of the Assembly. This decree is followed by a proclamation of the lieutenant-governor by which he proceeds to the dissolution”, explains Élections Québec in an email exchange with Métro.
“No notice is compulsory for the government and for the lieutenant-governor to dissolve the National Assembly early”, we add.
The elections will indeed take place in the fall, predicts political scientist André Lamoureux. “It's simple, it would not be advantageous for the CAQ to launch an election now. The context is simply not conducive to this. The discontent linked to health measures and the movement of truckers creates a negative atmosphere, ”analyzes the lecturer at UQAM.
The population does not like to see elections be rushed, adds- it, which could work against the CAQ. “The Parti Québécois made this huge mistake in 2014, recalls Mr. Lamoureux. Minister Nicolas Marceau's budget had been badly received, and elections had been called. It’s a strategy that quickly backfired on the party.”
If an election were called sometime in the spring, the Conservative Party of Quebec could take advantage of the situation to grab seats in the CAQ in the Quebec region, says the political scientist. The Parti Québécois is the one that would have the most difficulty in doing well in this context, according to him.