Jean-Martin Aussant wins PQ nomination battle in Pointe-aux-Trembles

Jean-Martin Aussant was chosen by Parti Québécois members in the Montreal riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles to represent the party in the fall election.

The star recruit was facing a tough test from SSJB head Maxime Laporte

Jean-Martin Aussant, seen here in a file photo, took the nomination with 64 per cent of the vote. Around 530 Parti Québécois members voted. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Jean-Martin Aussant was chosen Sunday by Parti Québécois members in the Montreal riding of Pointe-aux-Trembles to represent the party in the fall election. 

Aussant, a well-known economist, is considered a star recruit for PQ leader Jean-François Lisée. But he was facing a tough nomination battle after choosing to run in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

Maxime Laporte, the head of the sovereigntist lobby group Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, was also hoping to stake a claim to the riding's nomination. 

Laporte enjoyed the support of former premier Bernard Landry and Mario Beaulieu, one of the few remaining Bloc Québécois MPs.

In the end, Aussant took the nomination with 64 per cent of the vote. Around 530 PQ members voted.

Triumphant return, but another big battle brewing

Aussant's decision to run for the PQ was announced with much fanfare in February. He had been a popular MNA for the party from 2008 to 2011, when he quit arguing it wasn't sufficiently dedicated to pursuing sovereignty. 

He founded a small party called Option nationale, which never managed to win a seat and eventually merged with the left-wing Québec Solidaire. 

The next task for Aussant will be keeping Pointe-aux-Trembles from falling into the hands of Coalition Avenir Québec.

The riding, located on the eastern end of Montreal, had long been considered a PQ stronghold, but recent projections suggest a tight race is shaping up.

Chantal Rouleau, a borough mayor in the riding, is running for the CAQ.