Daily Archives: June 24, 2009

Québec by-elections 2009

The Canadian province of Québec held two provincial by-elections on June 22, 2009. One was held in the Montreal-area riding of Marguerite-Bourgeoys, following the retirement of the Liberal finance minister. The riding is an ultra-safe seat, which is very federalist and 30% Anglophone. The other by-election was held in Rivière-du-Loup, following the resignation of Mario Dumont, the once-successful leader of the once-successful conservative ADQ. Dumont had held the seat for a long time with huge majorities.


Clément Gignanc (Liberal) 72.32%
Christine Normandin (PQ) 17.03%
Diane Charbonneau (ADQ) 3.70%
Leclerc, Julien (Green) 2.80%
Black St-Laurent, Valérie (QS) 2.47%
Sylvie R. Tremblay (IND) 0.70%
Érik Poulin (PI) 0.61%
Régent Millette (IND) 0.37%

Liberal Majority: 55.28%
Liberal hold


Jean D’Amour (Liberal) 47.69%
Paul Crête (PQ) 35.69%
Côté, Gilberte (ADQ) 14.67%
Martin Poirier (Green) 0.71%
Victor-Lévy Beaulieu (IND) 0.44%
Benoît Renaud (QS) 0.42%
Denis Couture (Finanical Reform) 0.20%
Éric Tremblay (PI) 38 0.18%

Liberal Majority: 12.00%
Liberal gain from ADQ

An important defeat for the PQ in Rivière-du-Loup, a 99% Franco and relatively nationalist – though conservative – constituency. Talking heads say this is due Marois’ new plan for a “sovereign Québec” and former Premier Jacques Parizeau saying an economic crisis is perfect time for independence (words which Charest, the Liberal Premier, did not hesitate to spin).

If you ever needed proof the ADQ was a one-man party a la Forza Italia, there you have it. The party may continue to exist officially, but it’s practically dead. This plus their fringe result in Marguerite-Bourgeoys only serves to prove that Québec is returning, for now, to a quite strict two-party system.

Italy 2009

Italy held three referendums and runoff elections for a number of provinces and municipalities on Sunday and Monday June 21 and 22, 2009.

The three-fold referendum seeked to change the majority bonus in Italian general elections from a coalition bonus to a bonus for the largest party. This part was Question 1 (Chamber) and 2 (Senate). Question 3 would prevent candidates from standing in multiple constituencies. Questions 1 and 2 would gradually transform Italy into a two-party (PD and PdL) system and weaken these parties’ respective coalition allies (IdV and Lega Nord). The PD supports this, Berlusconi privately supports it but didn’t campaign in favour since he didn’t want to piss off his Lega Nord (very picky) allies. The referendum required 50% turnout to pass.

Question 1

Yes 77.6%
No 22.4%

Question 2

Yes 77.7%
No 22.3%

Question 3

Yes 87%
No 13

Turnout was only 23%, so the referendums were invalid.

There were 22 provincial runoffs, out of 62 provinces voting (the first round being held the same day as the Euros). Provinces have relatively few powers, much less powers than the regions do atleast. Most of these provinces (two, I think, were new) voted in 2004 – which was a peak in anti-Berlusconi sentiment – the left won 50 and the right won 9 (including 1 Lega Nord won independently of the Italian right). 2009 could only be a realignment and return to electoral normalcy.

Right 34
Left 28

Italy 2009 Provinces - R1

In notable provincial results, the left held Torino by an impressive margin and narrowly lost Milan, Venice, and Lecce. The right’s narrow victory in Milan and Venice – two traditionally right-wing provinces – is good news for the left.

The left won very pleasing results in the local elections, they won 16 of the provincial capitals voting, the right won 14. In other cities, the left won 107, the right won 70. 12 cities were won by Independent lists (Lista Civica), 3 by the Lega Nord (independently of the right), and 3 by the centre (UDC). In the first round, the right had forced the left into runoffs in Florence and Bologna, in which the left ate the right’s candidates alive. The left also won Bari and Padova, other pleasing results for them.

There was an undeniable shift to the left in these runoffs, and this saves the PD from extinction, and some predicted that very poor elections would spell the end of the PD experiment.