Dominique Anglade was named the new leader of the Quebec Liberals on Monday, becoming the first ever Black woman at the helm of a provincial political party in the history of Quebec.
The announcement was made after contender Alexandre Cusson announced he was bowing out of the race, leaving Anglade as the party’s only leadership candidate.
Anglade, who is a Liberal MNA for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne and former economy minister, launched her campaign last summer to succeed former premier Philippe Couillard, who resigned after a bitter defeat in the October 2018 election.
She is also the first woman to run for leader of the Quebec Liberals in the party’s 150-year history.
“I am proud to be the first woman leader of a party that has always pushed for social and economic progress,” she said in a statement on Monday.
Cusson, the former mayor of Drummondville, announced his decision to drop out of the race in a letter on Monday morning, saying he was faced with a “heartbreaking choice.”
After taking a few days to think about the novel coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the race, Cusson said he came to realize it was financially impossible for him to continue amid the delays.
“Personally, having left my functions and giving up all remuneration to participate in this race, not being independently wealthy and having to earn my living like a great majority of Quebecers, this delay is not possible,” he wrote.
The Quebec Liberals were initially supposed to elect a new chief in late May, but the race was postponed due to the pandemic.
Cusson was the second contender to throw his hat in the ring for the party’s top job when he announced his intention to run last November. He officially launched his campaign in January.
Despite quitting the leadership race, Cusson said he remains devoted to Liberals and thanked those who backed him.
“Our campaign was going well on the ground and I can imagine that some of my organizers and supporters were disappointed,” he said.
— With files from the Canadian Press