Duceppe won’t run

06.13.05

Wow, I’m amazed… Gilles Duceppe is opting not to seek the PQ leadership and instead, to keep his job as leader of the Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa:

Le chef du Bloc québécois, Gilles Duceppe, a annoncé ce matin à Ottawa qu’il renonçait à se lancer dans la course à la direction du Parti québécois. M. Duceppe ignore donc les appels de ceux qui le voyaient succéder à Bernard Landry.

M. Duceppe croit que c’est à Ottawa qu’il servira le mieux la cause indépendantiste. “La prochaine étape dans la longue marche du mouvement souverainiste, ce sont les élections fédérales. Deux courses au leadership en même temps et une élection, c’est ça qui m’a convaincu de rester ici.”

I must say, I’m astounded. Duceppe would have been a shoo-in for PQ leadership and almost a dead certainty as Quebec’s next premier. He also would have given the sovereignty push a shot in the arm, leading to an increased likelihood of a “yes” win in the next referendum.

Duceppe’s decision may backfire on his popularity among sovereigntists, who saw him as the next Bouchard, the great white hope for nationalism. Now that he’s essentially chosen federal politics over provincial ones, will it be interpreted as sending a message of Canada over Quebec to his supporters?

More to the point, who will be the next PQ leader now? Pauline Marois? The PQ has plenty of hard-liners but very few charismatic or popular leadership candidates that can bridge the gap and bring in the “soft nationalists” needed to win a referendum. And while it’s true that they came within a hair’s breath in 1995 with the buffoonic Parizeau at the helm of the party and Bouchard calling the shots from Ottawa, a repeat seems unlikely. I hope and suspect that Duceppe’s decision will deliver a real blow to sovereignty.

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1 just a guy 06.13.05 at 7:35 PM

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