CAQ Leader François Legault re-elected in L'Assomption
'The beautiful history of the Coalition Avenir Québec is just beginning,' he tells supporters
Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault, who was determined to gain ground in this election, has been reelected in his riding of L'Assomption.
He won his seat with a popular vote of more than 49 per cent among electors. The Parti Québécois trailed in second place with about 30 percent support.
We have fought quite the fight.- François Legault; CAQ leader
"What an evening — what a breakthrough! We have fought quite the fight." Legault said in his speech in Repentigny after results came in Monday night.
Heading into the race, his seat was not a sure thing — he won in the last election by a little more than 1,100 votes.
Legault's party entered the campaign with 18 seats in the National Assembly.
On Monday night, the CAQ got about 24 per cent of the popular vote — down four per cent from the last election in 2012.
The former PQ minister’s newly formed party managed to fight its way into what was once a largely two-sided political landscape.
Polls showed the CAQ in a distant third place when the campaign kicked off.
Legault’s ideas to cut taxes, launch a job-creation plan and table his own version of a secular charter were overshadowed by talks of a possible referendum on the campaign trail when the Parti Québécois introduced media tycoon Pierre Karl Péladeau as one of its star candidates.
But in the last two weeks of the campaign, Legault began to gain momentum, and the CAQ started to surge in the polls.
"Despite the referendum polarization … which the two parties dragged us into, we have succeeded in making our voices heard … It is clear that we have really planted a seed for the future," he said.
Legault focused on Quebec’s debt load, accusing the Liberals and the PQ of mismanaging the economy over the past 40 years. Legault said a CAQ government would review infrastructure projects and commit only to ones the province could afford.
He pledged to bring in a balanced budget in his first year in office, and cut the debt-to-GDP ratio in half within four years.
''I respect this democratic choice, but I do hope that you will join our party in growing numbers in the months and the years to come to build a real alternative to the Liberals," Legault said in English to the crowd of supporters in the room. "We need you to build a stronger and more prosperous Quebec, which includes all its citizens.
"The beautiful history of the ColaltionAvenirQuébec is just beginning."