The Quebec Election Results 2012
Charest lost his Sherbrook riding and, as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, the provincial election.
However, Quebec voters did not give Pauline Marois of the Parti Québécois the majority government she had asked for, thus putting the PQ's sovereignty project on less solid ground.
In her acceptance speech, Marois saluted Charest and other party leaders and offered to work with opposition MLAs in the National Assembly. Switching to Englsh, Marois comforted Anglophones and others that their rights will be respected.
Knowing hard-core PQ separatists would continue to push her to take a non-comprising stance, Marois re-iterated her commitment to the sovereignty project. She addressed her supporters in French: "As a Nation, we will make decisions that are important to us. We are a country. And we will have it. Quebec needs to become a sovereign country …." (and the crowd cheers).
The Crime Scene
Then all of a sudden, Marois was rushed out of sight by security and everyone was asked to leave the room. Outside, there was a person on the ground and a rifle was lying not far away. Shortly after, Marois was back on the podium and concluded her victory speech. People then evacuated the room while outside on the street, a man was led into a police car in hand-cuffs. Fire-fighters also had put out a fire in a near-by back alley. Montreal police announced two persons were injured and one person was arrested. As of now, police has cordoned off the area and an investigation is underway.
Apparent shot fired during Marois victory speech
PQ leader rushed off stage as police make arrest outside venue
Posted: Sep 4, 2012 8:00 PM ET
12:06 AM ET
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Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois was rushed off the stage during her victory speech after a starter pistol was fired, prompting a quick response form security officials.
She returned a few minutes later and urged supporters who packed Montreal's Metropolis concert hall to leave calmly.
"There was a little unfortunate incident," she said.
Montreal police could be seen taking a man into custody outside the building.
After battling back from inner party turmoil and record lows in party support, Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois have claimed victory over the incumbent Liberals. The PQ will return to power with a minority government after almost a decade in opposition.
Marois, 63, will now become the province's first female premier.
Before the incident, Marois took the podium as the gleeful crowd burst into a round of Gens du Pays, a nationalist anthem, Marois told all Quebecers she was hopeful they could put aside their differences for a united Quebec.
"Voters have made a choice and we will respect it, and we will govern with all other parties at the national assembly," she told the packed room at Montreal's Metropolis concert hall.
"We are all there to serve Quebecers. And I'm sure we will be able to find the right compromises. It's time to regain confidence to make the right decisions."
In English, Marois told anglophone Quebecers that their rights would be respected.
"We share the same history, and I want us to shape together our future," she said.
While the minority win falls short of the majority the PQ made a heavy pitch for, it marks a significant loss for the Liberals, who, after nine years in power, gambled on a summer election a year before the end of their mandate.
Long-time premier Jean Charest lost his bet that student turmoil and a soft economy would be enough to push voters to support a Liberal government for a fourth term.
Charest falls in own riding
In his own riding of Sherbrooke, Charest lost to Serge Cardin, former Bloc Québécois MP and current PQ candidate.
With a coarse voice, Charest conceded defeat to a crowd gathered in his home riding, alongside his wife and family.
"This is not the result I would have wanted. This is not a battle that I backed away from. I now have the firm conviction that our party will continue to serve Quebec, and will do it together."
Charest pointed to the PQ's failure to gain a majority, saying the campaign results show that the "future of Quebec lies within Canada."
He took responsiblity for the Liberal loss, saying he did so with an "open heart."
"I tell you at the same time, there will be other chances for the Quebec Liberal Party," he said.
"We have work to do. We proposed things to Quebecers, and now, faced with a minority government, we will be able to make our own contribution to the further construction of Quebec."
CAQ leading or elected in 19 seats
The newly-formed Coalition Avenir Québec, in its first appearance in an provincial election, had a good showing, coming in third.
"The political landscape of Quebec will never be the same," party leader François Legault told a crowd gathered in Repentigny. "We will see a new political force rise in Quebec. We can be proud of the road travelled in the last year."
Legault won his riding of l'Assomption in a down-to-the-wire race against his nearest opponent, the PQ's Lizabel Nitoi.
Quebec Solidaire won two seats, one each for its co-spokespeople. Françoise David marked her first win in the Gouin riding, defeating PQ MNA Nicolas Girard, who had held the seat since 2004.
To a standing-room crowd at Montreal's Olympia Theatre, David thanked voters for believing in the party.
"Thank you for expressing a profound desire for a feminist, ecologist and sovereigntist change," she said.
The former president of the Quebec federation of women congratulated Pauline Marois on her historic role as the first woman to lead Quebec's government.
Amir Khadir, the party's other spokesperson and sole QS MNA when the national assembly was dissolved, has also been re-elected in the Montreal riding of Mercier.
Jean-Martin Aussant, leader of the Option Nationale, has lost to the CAQ candidate Donald Martel in the Nicolet-Bécancour riding, CBC News projects. It's the same riding Aussant previously held for the PQ before he left the party in 2011.
Challenging night for star candidates, cabinet ministers
While all eyes were on the party leaders, the spotlight was also shining on several key candidates.
Former student leader and PQ candidate Léo Bureau-Blouin is projected to take the riding of Laval-des-Rapides, defeating the Liberal incumbent Alan Paquet and CAQ's star challenger Maud Cohen.
Jacques Duchesneau, former head of the province's anti-corruption squad and high-profile CAQ candidate, has won his race in St-Jérôme, CBC News projects.
Four cabinet ministers – Pierre Corbeil, Clément Gignac, Alain Paquet, Serge Simard – were all defeated. All four lost their seats to PQ challengers.
This campaign wasn’t a walk in the park for any party, with all leaders traversing the province and revving up the engines of their get-out-the-vote machine until its dying hours.
The Liberals were in the fight for their political lives since the campaign's very first day.
The PQ and the upstart CAQ were quick to try to claim an advantage by highlighting the Liberal record on economic issues, the continuing corruption inquiry into the construction industry and the government’s handling of the tuition crisis and resulting civil unrest last spring.
Voters elected 125 representatives to form the legislature’s 40th national assembly. Sixty-three seats were required to form a majority government.