After long leadership race, Parti Québécois elects Paul St-Pierre Plamondon

A woman holds a Quebec flag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Lawyer Paul St-Pierre Plamondon was elected as the new leader of the Parti Québécois on Friday evening, becoming the party’s 10th leader.

The 43-year-old beat out three opponents,  including historian Frédéric Bastien, humorist Guy Nantel and Jonquière MNA, Sylvain Gaudreault.

Plamondon garnered 56,02 per cent of the votes on the third ballot, beating Gaudreault who collected 43,98 per cent of the votes.

Just over 35,000 party members and supporters had the right to vote.

Election night took place at the party’s office in Montreal.

Read more: Parti Québécois leadership race: 4 candidates officially in the running

According to St-Pierre Plamondon, by electing him leader party members voted for change.

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“The members have decided to write a new chapter in our history,” he said in his victory speech, reaching out to his opponents.

“Party members were confronted with two choices. Continuity or change. Tonight, members opted for change, renewal and a spirit of adventure that will enliven the Parti Québécois over the course of the next few years.”

The leadership of the party had been vacant since the resignation of Jean-François Lisée on the evening of the PQ’s historic defeat in the 2018 provincial elections.

The party then went from official opposition status to third party in the National Assembly, with 10 MNAs.

Pascal Bérubé, the MNA for Matane then stepped in as interim leader.

In the meantime, the party reorganized and focused on a resolutely pro-independence discourse and platform, during a congress in November last year.

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Launched in March, the leadership race was the longest and certainly the most unusual in the annals of the PQ. It had to be suspended at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the ban on travel and gatherings.

The candidates took part in three debates this fall, which were webcast from a studio in Granby, without supporters or party members in the room.

READ MORE: Parti Québécois to elect new leader as party fights for survival, relevance

Sylvain Gaudreault, 50, was the only member of the legislature in the race and was considered the establishment candidate.

Frédéric Bastien, 51, a historian and junior college teacher ran on platform to slash immigration and only select immigrants who speak French and who are educated.

Comedian Guy Nantel, 52, was possibly the most well-known candidate, who grew his fan base from years of standup across the province and from making funny videos.

— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier

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