Quebec separatists to win minority government next week: poll

Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:22pm EDT
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(Reuters) - A separatist party looks set to return to power in the Canadian province of Quebec in an election next week, but is unlikely to win enough support to push through a referendum on independence, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

The CROP survey for La Presse newspaper put the opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) at 33 percent public support, down one percentage point from a poll done by the same firm 12 days earlier. Quebec holds a provincial election on September 4.

The newly created Coalition for the Future of Quebec (CAQ), which is led by a former PQ cabinet minister, was at 28 percent, up three points, while the ruling Liberals dropped one point to 27 percent.

CROP said the poll showed the PQ was likely to win a minority of seats in the provincial legislature, forcing it to look to other parties for support in governing.

Both the Liberals and the CAQ say they do not support another referendum on independence for the predominantly French-speaking province.

Previous PQ governments held province-wide votes on breaking away from Canada, losing by a wide margin in 1980 but by only about 1 percentage point in 1995. Party leader Pauline Marois vows to hold another referendum if she wins power but declines to say when it would occur.

The poll showed that Liberal Premier Jean Charest's government was set to lose after nine years in power. Charest is a former federal cabinet minister who jumped into provincial politics in 1998.

The CROP telephone poll of 1,002 adults was conducted between August 24 and 26 and is considered to be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Paul Simao)

A campaign sign for Parti Quebecois legislator Stephane Bergeron is posted in the Quebec town of Varennes August 17, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi