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Former Quebec premier Jean Charest will not seek Conservative leadership

The Conservative leadership race is heating up as contenders continue to jockey into position ahead of the release of the rules for the contest.
The Conservative leadership race is heating up as contenders continue to jockey into position ahead of the release of the rules for the contest. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest has announced that he will not seek the federal Conservative leadership.

In an interview today with Radio-Canada, Charest says the rules of the leadership race and the tight timeline before the June 27 convention make it hard for a candidate from outside the party like him.

READ MORE: Will claims of illegal party financing sink Charest’s hopes of political comeback?

In a statement, he says the party has changed a lot since he left it in 1998 to enter provincial politics as Liberal leader.

He also cites his happy family life and busy career as a lawyer and strategic adviser as reasons not to jump back into politics.

READ MORE: Stephen Harper steps down from Conservative Fund board as potential candidates gear up

Charest had been testing the waters for a leadership attempt since current Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced his intention to resign.

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His hopes were not helped by the release last week of police warrants that revived allegations of illegal fund-raising in the Quebec Liberal party during Charest’s tenure as leader.