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THE WEEK AHEAD

QUEBEC CITY : Into the Frying Pan

January 11, 1994

Daniel Johnson, a fiscal conservative and a federalist, is to be sworn in as premier of Quebec today amid continuing speculation over his abilities to outmaneuver the province's perennial French-speaking separatist movement as successfully as his predecessor.

Johnson succeeds longstanding Premier Robert Bourassa, a Liberal who was known for his canny handling of the situation but who stepped down last year because of ill health. Johnson is considered a cool and aloof technocrat, firmly committed to austerity measures that are unpopular with Quebec's potent unions.

Johnson's test will come this fall, when provincial elections are to be held. Currently, opinion polls show Johnson and the Liberals trailing the separatist Parti Quebecois, led by Jacques Parizeau.

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