10/19/2015 22:28 EDT | Updated 10/19/2016 01:12 EDT

Liberal party appear poised for major Quebec breakthrough

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau's Liberals appeared headed for a stunning political comeback in Quebec on Monday as they surged into the lead in nearly two-thirds of the province's 78 ridings.

The NDP, which won 59 seats out of 75 in 2011, was leading in fewer than 10 ridings and even Leader Tom Mulcair looked to be in dogfight in his Montreal riding.

The first Quebec riding called for the Liberals was Gaspesie–Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, where Diane Lebouthillier beat the incumbent NDP MP, Philip Toone.

Trudeau romped to victory in his riding of Papineau.

The Grits were also running in front in western Quebec as well as in the Eastern Townships ridings south of Montreal down to the U.S. border.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives were faring very strongly in the Quebec City area, with Steven Blaney, Jacques Gourde, Maxime Bernier and highly touted recruit Gerard Deltell all either elected or enjoying healthy leads.

The NDP was hoping it would be seen by Quebecers as best-positioned to beat the Conservatives but the party dropped in the polls as the Liberals surged across the country, including in Quebec, and Trudeau took up the mantle of the party of change.

The Bloc Quebecois, which won just four seats in 2011, was poised to win a few more than that, although Leader Gilles Duceppe was involved in a tight race with the NDP's Helene Laverdiere, who ended his 21-year reign in the Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie four years ago.


The Canadian Press