QUEBEC – Quebec’s chief electoral officer has launched an investigation into possible irregularities after a judicial recount found a Liberal declared the winner Oct. 1 in fact lost to his Parti Quebecois rival.
Suspicions were raised when election-night results showed one polling station in the riding of Gaspe had reported all 194 votes for Liberal candidate Alexandre Boulay. Boulay was initially declared the winner by a margin of 132 votes.
Wednesday’s recount found it was the PQ’s Meganne Perry-Melancon who had won by a 41-vote margin.
“The integrity of the electoral process is the base of our electoral system and requires that we act swiftly and with rigour,” chief electoral officer Pierre Reid said in announcing his investigation.
The result puts the PQ in a tie with Quebec solidaire with 10 seats. But the PQ becomes the second-ranking opposition party — after the Liberals — because it received a greater share of the popular vote than Quebec solidaire.
There is one more recount to come next week in the northern Quebec riding of Ungava, which the Coalition Avenir Quebec candidate won by 44 votes over the PQ.
As it stands, the Coalition Avenir Quebec has 74 seats in the legislature, followed by the Liberals who now have 29 seats.
There is one Independent and one vacant seat, created by the resignation of outgoing Liberal premier Philippe Couillard.