Separatists Make Comeback in Quebec Vote

Once-moribund party's victory revives talk of breakup of Canada
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2008 4:00 AM CST
Parti Quebecois Leader Pauline Marois thanks her local campaign workers as she ends her 32-day tour in her home riding Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 in La Malbaie Quebec, Canada.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot)
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(Newser) – Voters in Quebec gave a small majority to the Liberal Party last night, providing premier Jean Charest with his third election victory. But the big winner of last night's vote, reports the Gazette of Montreal, was the Parti Québécois—which advocates an independent Quebec. Once written off for dead, the separatist party defied polling predictions and revived the possibility of a break-up of Canada.

The PQ was decimated at the last election, falling to reach third-party status and considered a spent political force. But a new leader, Pauline Marois, helped to re-energize the party, while machinations in Ottawa that nearly toppled the federal government aided the separatist argument. At a rally last night Marois, who seeks to become Quebec's first female premier, told cheering supporters they were on the cusp of "the victory of a sovereign Quebec."