February 28, 2008 / 1:15 AM / 10 years ago

Quebec government's fate rests with March budget

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Quebec’s minority Liberal government will present its 2008-09 budget on March 13, Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget said on Wednesday.

<p>Quebec's Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget (C) looks at Quebec's Premier Jean Charest (R) as she speaks during the questions period at the National Assembly in Quebec City June 1, 2007. REUTERS/Jacques Boissinot/Pool</p>

To carry the vote on the budget and remain in power, the Liberals, who have 48 seats in the 125-seat legislature, would need support from either of the two main opposition parties in the mainly French-speaking province of 7.5 million.

The Action democratique du Quebec (ADQ) has 41 seats in the legislature and the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) has 34. Two seats are vacant.

Speaking to reporters in Quebec City, Jerome-Forget said the opposition parties would have to temper their expectations on the budget as voters were looking for the three parties to make their “cohabitation” work.

The ADQ tried to topple the Liberal government last autumn and the PQ has been rattling its saber on the budget issue in recent weeks.

Recent public opinion polls, however, show the Liberals slightly in the lead or tracking close to the ADQ and PQ in popularity, and that appears to have tempered the parties’ election fervor.

($1=$0.98 Canadian)

Reporting by Robert Melnbardis; editing by Rob Wilson

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