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The Premier of Quebec (in French Premier ministre du Québec) is the first minister of the Canadian province of Quebec. The Premier is the province's head of government and his title is Premier and President of the Executive Council.
The current Premier of Quebec is Jean Charest, appointed June 6, 2003.
Selection and qualifications
The Premier of Quebec is nominally appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, vice-regal representative of the Queen in Right of Quebec, as president of the Executive Council. He or she is most usually the head of the party winning the most seats in the National Assembly of Quebec, and is normally a sitting member of the National Assembly. An exception to this rule occurs when the winning party's leader fails to win the riding in which he is running. In that case, he would have to be elected in a by-election. This has happened, for example, to Robert Bourassa in 1985.
The role of the Premier of Quebec is to announce the legislative priorities on the opening speech of the National Assembly. He represents the leading party and must have the confidence of the Assembly, as expressed by votes on budgets and other matters considered as confidence votes.
The distinction between "Premier" and "Prime Minister" does not exist in French, since both offices are termed "Premier Ministre" in French.
The Premiers of Quebec are elected according to the principle of responsible government. This principle is a matter of constitutional convention, since the Constitution Act, 1867 does not mention it.