Parti Québécois interim leader to be announced tonight

Jean-François Lisée, Bernard Drainville and Pierre Karl Péladeau among contenders to succeed Pauline Marois.

Jean-François Lisée, Bernard Drainville and Pierre Karl Péladeau among contendors to succeed Pauline Marois

A Parti Québécois supporter watches provincial election results at the party's reception in Montreal on Monday, April 7. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

Now that Pauline Marois has tendered her resignation as Parti Québécois leader, the question within the battered sovereigntist party is who will be the right person to rebuild it.

It won't be easy. The PQ suffered one of its worst defeats since the 1970s on Monday night when Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard won a majority government.

Two-thirds of Quebecers also flatly say they're not interested in another sovereignty referendum, one of the party's main goals.

The PQ's interim leader is to be announced on Thursday night. Nobody has come forward yet to claim the permanent job  that Marois won by acclamation in 2007.

However, PQ members seemed to get a preview of a few possible choices on election night.

In a twist that seemed to come out of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," Pierre Karl Péladeau, Jean-François Lisée, Bernard Drainville and Nicole Léger came to praise Marois before she buried her own political career a few moments later.

Lisée and Léger extolled Marois' qualities and the party's determination to fight on, while Drainville and Peladeau made a pitch to sovereigntist hearts

Péladeau insisted the PQ caucus would continue to "defend the interests of Quebecers and the country" while Drainville was even more forceful, giving a stemwinder speech on the virtues of the goal to make Quebecers masters of their own destiny.

"We will never abandon it — never," he said before leading the crowd in a chant of "we want a country."

Lisée, Drainville and Péladeau have often been mentioned as eventual successors to Marois, although it has also been suggested Péladeau might not have the patience to toil in Opposition and rebuild a shattered party after so many years as a corporate titan.

Others who might take a run at the leadership are former cabinet ministers Leger, SylvainGaudreault and VéroniqueHivon, although their profile isn't considered as high as those of Lisée, Drainville and Péladeau.