Quebec byelections: Liberals keep 3 seats, PQ 1
Provincial byelections maintain the status quo as Liberals and PQ keep seats
Provincial byelections in four Quebec ridings Monday saw the Liberals keep their three seats in Fabre, Beauce-Sud and St-Henri–Ste-Anne and the Parti Québécois win in René-Lévesque in the Saguenay region.
Liberal candidates Dominique Anglade in St-Henri–Ste-Anne, Paul Busque in Beauce-Sud and Monique Sauvé in Fabre won, as did the PQ's Martin Ouellet in René-Lévesque.
Dominique Anglade, who had served as president of the Coalition Avenir Québec from January 2012 to September 2013, won after a close battle with PQ candidate Gabrielle Lemieux.
The star Liberal candidate beat the PQ's Lemieux by a 1,206 votes to keep the seat Liberal.
Monique Sauvé had no trouble winning her seat in Fabre, securing almost 44 per cent of the vote. PQ candidate Jibril Akaaboune Le-François finished second with almost 29 per cent of the vote. A total of 1,757 votes separated the two.
Liberal candidate Paul Busque won with almost 56 per cent of the vote, besting CAQ candidate Tom Redmond by more than 5,000 votes.
PQ candidate Martin Ouellet won in the longtime PQ bastion of René-Lévesque with 48 per cent of the vote, topping Liberal candidate Karine Otis by more than 1,300 votes.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard joined Anglade at her victory party in St-Henri–Ste-Anne.
"Three nice victories for the party of recovery and revival in Quebec, and a good night for democracy," he said.
For her part, Anglade said economic development and community development go hand in hand and promised to work towards both ends for constituents of St-Henri–Ste-Anne.
"For both to work, we have to listen to each other and talk to each other," she said.
Low voter turnout
Voter turnout is historically lower in byelections and Monday's results maintained that trend.
The decision to hold the byelections so soon after the federal election on Oct. 19 drew criticism from opposition parties in Quebec's National Assembly, who believed it would affect turnout.
Quebec's director-general of elections reported a turnout ranging from a low of 22 per cent in Fabre to a high of 43 per cent in Beauce-Sud.
Voter turnout in the Montreal riding of St-Henri–Ste-Anne was 24 per cent and just under 40 per cent in René-Lévesque.
Those percentages include advance polls.
The byelections come after three Liberal MNAs — Robert Dutil, Gilles Ouimet and Marguerite Blais — stepped down in recent months.
Marjolain Dufour, a Parti Québécois MNA, retired in September citing health reasons.
The governing Liberals have 68 seats, compared to 28 for the PQ, 20 for the Coalition Avenir Québec and three seats for Québec Solidaire.
There is one independent in the legislature.
After today's byelections, there will still be one vacant seat in the legislature, after the PQ's Stéphane Bédard announced he was leaving politics last month.
Advanced polls for the byelection took place on Nov. 1 and 2.