Quebec separatist premier calls election

MONTREAL – Quebec’s premier dissolved the legislature Wednesday and called an election in a bid to gain a majority of seats for her pro-independence party, a development that could lead to another referendum on separation from Canada.

The possibility of a breakaway, however, remained distant. Opinion polls indicate the idea lacks popular support, and Parti Quebecois Premier Pauline Marois steered clear of the issue Wednesday.

Marois said she needs a majority to revive Quebec’s economy and protect the province’s distinct identity. She made no mention of sovereignty or another referendum.

“I’m asking you to give us the means to act,” Marois said. “We have a plan and the team to make our plan succeed.”

Voters in the French-speaking province of 8.1 million will head to the polls April 7.

The PQ is currently leading in the polls, followed by the Liberals and the Coalition for Quebec’s Future.

The PQ’s ultimate goal is to separate from Canada, but there’s no guarantee the party will hold a referendum if it gets a majority. Marois has so far only promised to hold public hearings.


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