Duceppe sees early Canada election

Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:26pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Bloc Quebecois said on Friday it had concluded that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would likely make an early election call.

Gilles Duceppe, leader of the separatist party, told reporters after a meeting with Harper that the prime minister would call an election.

"I think his plan is made. He wants an election. Period," Duceppe said.

Harper, whose minority government needs the support of at least one opposition party to pass legislation and stay in power, has asked for meetings with opposition leaders to see if there is common ground that would make the fall session of Parliament productive.

Harper has increasingly said that Parliament is dysfunctional and suggested he may trigger a general election to provide a fresh mandate. He has been considering launching the campaign next week for a vote on October 14.

On Saturday he will meet with New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, who has said he considers the whole exercise a charade. Liberal leader Stephane Dion, head of the largest opposition party, has said he is not available to talk to Harper until September 9.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe stands to speak in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 28, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>