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7 ridings to watch in Quebec provincial elections

Watch: Quebec ridings to watch according to Leger

MONTREAL – Language, identity and corruption have taken over the Quebec 2014 elections.

Live coverage of the 2014 Quebec election

Despite all the mudslinging between party leaders, all eyes this year are on the swing ridings that could either make or break a majority government.

Watch: Political mudslinging in Quebec

In 2012, the PQ missed out on a majority government by just 13 ridings, and with the Coalition Avenir Quebec and Liberal Party’s steady rise in the polls, the PQ’s chances of leading a majority in 2014 are under serious contention.

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INTERACTIVE MAPQuebec provincial election ridings

Take a look at the top seven ridings to watch in the upcoming election.

Charlesbourg

The Quebec City riding of Charlesbourg is notorious for switching between parties. Although the Coaliton Avenir Quebec does not have many star candidates in this election, the party currently holds the swing riding that could be essential for a possible Parti Quebecois majority.

With CAQ MNA Denise Trudel running for a second term, it will be interesting to see if the riding of Charlesbourg remains as unfaithful to the CAQ as it has been to the Liberals and the PQ in the past.

Watch: Charlesbourg: a swing riding to watch

D’Arcy McGee

While D”Arcy McGee is not technically considered a swing riding (it has been one of the safest Liberal ridings since its creation in 1966), a recent change in candidates may shake things up.

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The incumbent Lawrence Bergman, who swept the riding with almost 85 per cent of the vote in 2012 – the highest of any riding – has stepped aside for David Birnbaum, the former executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association, who will be making his political debut.

D’Arcy McGee is also the only electoral district in Quebec with a population boasting a Jewish majority.

Watch: David Birnbaum joins the Liberals

Laurier-Dorion

Although Laurier-Dorion has been held by the Quebec Liberal Party’s Gerry Sklavounos since 2007, Quebec Solidaire’s new president, Andrés Fontecilla, hopes to claim the party’s third seat in the National Assembly.

As a leader of the party, he may stand a chance, as both former Quebec Solidaire spokespeople Françoise David and Amir Khadir were elected in the 2012 provincial elections.

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Will a third time be the charm? Fontecilla has already run three times in Laurier-Dorion, coming in third place each time.

Laval-des-Rapides

Laval-des-Rapides was a Liberal riding for almost a decade before student leader-turned politician Leo Bureau-Blouin took it for the Parti Quebecois in 2012.

However, the riding has never been faithful to any party, switching between the Liberals and the PQ since its creation in 1981.

Of note: Laval-des-Rapides is considered a bellwether riding, as it has voted for the winning party in every election.

With the Liberals rising in the polls, will it give Quebec’s youngest MNA a second term or will it jump ship once again?

Watch: PQ vow not to let Ontario students decide election outcome

La Piniere

The Liberal’s newest star candidate, Gaetan Barrette, will face off against incumbent Fatima Houda-Pepin, who was first elected to La Piniere as a Liberal Party candidate in 1994.

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After 20 years, Houda-Pepin left the Liberals in January over a disagreement with the party’s views on the charter of values. She will run as an independent in this election against Barrette, who defected from Coalition Avenir Quebec to join the Liberal Party in March.

Nelligan

Although Nelligan is a primarily French-speaking, it has been a Liberal stronghold since its creation in 1981. The multicultural riding has also often identified as being highly anti-separatist.

Liberal Party incumbent, Yolande James, stepped down earlier this year. She was the first black female MNA, the first black cabinet minister in Quebec history and, at the time, the youngest person in the National Assembly.

Now, it’s up to first-timer Martin Coiteux to keep the riding for the Liberals in a hotly contested battle.

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Saint-Jerome

Quebecor media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau caused a stir when he announced he was running as the Parti Québécois’ candidate for the Laurentide riding of Saint-Jerome.

If successful, Peladeau will take over from former police chief and Coalition Avenir Quebec star candidate Jacques Duchesneau, who is not running for re-election.

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What ridings are you keeping an eye on? Let us know in the comments.

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