PQ as the arbiter?

The arbiter role in a minority government in Quebec was to have fallen to the ADQ. But a funny thing happened on the way to its arbiter status: It emerged as the official opposition.

Paul Wells gets it right, I think:

I won’t game out the parliamentary confrontation that seems almost certain, except to point this much out: the assumption until now was that the ADQ would arbitrate, between Libs and PQ, as to who formed the government. But if the ADQ and the Libs turn out to be rivals, with Charest unable to lead (what will still be, constitutionally, until a confidence vote) his government from within the National Assembly, then it is at least conceivable that the arbitrator’s role falls to the PQ. Does the PQ vote no confidence in a Liberal government? Does it then support Mario Dumont? That dilemma would risk tearing the PQ apart.

Yes, this is going to be fun to watch.

And then things are also going to be pretty interesting in Ottawa:

how does [federal Liberal leader] Stéphane Dion feel, knowing that 46 Quebec seats are now held by Liberals who agree with Stephen Harper on federalism and 42 Adéquistes who agree with him on everything else?

Also recommended on what this three-party dynamic, with the “ethnic nationalists” in third place, might mean: The Pithlord, Scott Lemieux, Jacob T. Levy, and various others that they link to. Quite an interesting discussion.

In particular, reflecting on Premier Charest’s interest in parlaying his new federal money into a tax cut that the ADQ will have to support him on (thereby postponing the PLQ-ADQ rivalry that Wells referred to), Pithlord notes:

Harper’s shown that you can play a minority with strength if your opponents don’t want an election. Charest isn’t as clever, but the way seems clear.

Related plantings:

Quebec stunner: Liberal minority government, ADQ close second

Quebec’s results and the performance of FPTP

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