Sept. 6, 2012, midnight
Voters in the Canadian province of Québec on Tuesday narrowly rejected the incumbent Liberal Party (PLQ), electing instead a minority government led by the historically sovereigntist Parti Québécois (PQ). In many districts carried by the outgoing PLQ, though, combined votes for the PQ and year-old Coalition for the Future of Quebec (CAQ) exceeded PLQ totals. Nationalist observers blamed division in the sovereigntist camp for the PQ's less-than-one-point win over the Liberals, and Canadian Prime Minister Steven HARPER said the result did not comprise a mandate to advance a separatist agenda. The historically social democratic PQ organized referenda in 1980 and 1995 on Quebec's relationship to Ottawa and is closely associated with laws mandating French language in the public sphere. The CAQ is a fiscally conservative and nationalist party formed in 2011 by former PQ minister François LEGAULT and leaders from the newer Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) party, which won opposition status in 2007 National Assembly elections.