Quebec election called for September 2012

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quebec, Canada premier Jean Charest has called a provincial election for September 4. After meeting with Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne to officially drop the writ and dissolve parliament, he made the public announcement yesterday in front of Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, stating the airport represents a "bridge to the north", in reference to his government's plan to develop natural resources in northern Quebec.

Jean Charest in 2010
Image: US Mission Canada.

Charest is the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, has held his position as premier since 2003, and has been a member of the National Assembly since 1998. He has now won four consecutive elections in his riding of Sherbrooke, first becoming the leader of the official opposition, then becoming premier for three terms. At this time, polls show no clear winner for the upcoming election.

This election comes in the midst of widely reported student protests against a raise in university tuition, which is expected to be one of the major issues of the elections. One other party, the Coalition Avenir Québec, is in favour of the tuition increases, while the Parti Québécois, Option nationale, and Québec solidaire oppose the tuition increases.

The Quebec Liberal Party is federalist, meaning it supports Quebec being part of Canada, while the other major parties are separatist, meaning they support Quebec becoming a sovereign state. During his speech, Charest reaffirmed his position on tuition fees and was quoted as saying he was representing the "silent majority."