Parti Québécois leadership race: 4 candidates officially in the running

In this 2016 file photo then Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée waves to supporters. Four candidates are in the running to replace him two years after he resigned. Friday, June 26, 2020. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Four candidates will race to become the next leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ) in October.

The PQ is searching for a new leader to succeed Jean-François Lisée, who stepped down after the party — which was once a powerhouse of the sovereignty movement — lost a lot of ground in the 2018 provincial election.

Frédéric Bastien, Sylvain Gaudreault, Guy Nantel and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon had filed their paperwork in accordance with party rules on Friday at the end of the nomination period.

Read more: Quebec comedian Guy Nantel joins PQ leadership race

“Four candidates with distinct ideas and proposals, but united by the same conviction: the need to make Quebec a free country,” said Dieudonné Ella Oyono, president of the PQ and its returning officer.

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The leadership race, interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic until June 5, officially kicked off on Friday.

Read more: Paul St-Pierre Plamondon embarks on the PQ leadership race

Virtual debates will take place between Aug. 15 and Oct. 2, and telephone and internet voting will take place from Oct. 5 to 9.

People wanting to vote have until Sept. 9 to become members or supporters, or until Sept. 18 to renew their membership card.

The next leader will be announced on Oct. 9, two years after the PQ’s “historic defeat” in the last general election on Oct. 1, 2018. Then leader, Jean-François Lisée, resigned the same evening.

Click to play video 'Quebec Election: Global News analyzes PQ Loss' Quebec Election: Global News analyzes PQ Loss
Quebec Election: Global News analyzes PQ Loss – Oct 1, 2018

MNA Pascal Bérubé will continue to act as parliamentary leader for the PQ until the election of the new leader.

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— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier and Kalina Laframboise