Coalition for Quebec’s Future caught the riding of Louis-Hebert at a provincial by-election on Monday, wresting away what was once regarded as a safe Liberal seat and a Quebec City-area stronghold for the governing party since 2003.
Former provincial coroner’s office spokeswoman Genevieve Guilbault cruised to victory in the riding for the third-place Coalition party, grabbing just over 51 percent of vote — a more than 7,400 vote majority.
Guilbault, 34, is a former Liberal political attache who became a famous face to Quebecers as she appeared daily on tv during tragedies such as the Lac-Megantic rail disaster in 2013 and L’Isle Verte seniors’ home fire in 2014.
The latest member of the provincial legislature is also 27 weeks pregnant.
The by-election was considered an important test for the governing Liberals in a riding they had held for 14 years with comfortable majorities, particularly with the upcoming provincial election round the corner in 2018.
Pros weighed in that together with all the parties mired in minority land in the polls, the by-election was an opportunity for the leaders to gauge their support.
Voters in the riding were forced to the polls following the seat was left vacant following the death of longtime Liberal Sam Hamad in April.
Ex-Hamad political attache Ihssane El Ghernati finished in 2nd place for the Liberals with 18 percent of the vote and Parti Quebecois candidate Norman Beauregard ended just behind in third place with 16 percent.
The effort was chaotic in the beginning, with the Liberal and Coalition first candidates falling out within hours of each other over allegations of emotional harassment dating back to their previous jobs.
The result leaves the governing Liberals with 68 of the 125 seats in the legislature, compared with 28 for the PQ, 21 for the Coalition, and three for Quebec solidaire. There are five different members.
The by-election was a record 15th in Quebec since the last provincial election in April 2014 — the maximum number in a mandate in over 30 years.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail