Montreal

Parti Québécois elects Jean-François Lisée as new leader

Jean-François Lisée has been elected the new leader of the Parti Québécois. He won the leadership race with 50.63 per cent of the vote from the party's members in the second round of voting.

Lisée voted in 5 months after Pierre Karl Péladeau quits as head of party

Lisée becomes the ninth leader of the Parti Québécois, replacing Pierre Karl Péladeau, who stepped down from the party and quit politics in May. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Jean-François Lisée has been elected the new leader of the Parti Québécois.

Lisée, a PQ veteran and longtime adviser to former party leaders Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard, was considered to be the main rival to Alexandre Cloutier for the job.

"The days of the Couillard government are numbered," Lisée said during his acceptance speech.

"There is no shame in being ashamed of a shameful government."

He won the leadership race with 50.63 per cent of the vote from the party's members in the second round of voting.

Lisée then extended an offer to Cloutier, who came in second with 31.7 per cent of the vote, to become Quebec minister of education if the PQ were to be elected in 2018.

Recent polls suggested that Lisée gained support among the party's rank and file after he focused on identity politics, including a proposal to welcome fewer immigrants to Quebec and a vow to ban the burka in public spaces.

The new Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée, third from left, joins hands with candidates Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, left, Alexandre Cloutier and Martine Ouellet after his acceptance speech. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

"I need all of you," he told the crowd. "Our coming together is just the first step."

During his campaign, Lisée also promised he would not hold a referendum on sovereignty during his first mandate if he became premier of Quebec, but Friday evening he said the "dream is more alive than ever."

"We know we don't have to ask anyone permission except ourselves," he said. "We know Quebec will be present on the world stage. We know the future belongs to us. We know that tonight, the road to victory lies ahead of us."

Jean-François Lisée's campaign has focused on identity politics. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

A message for anglophones

Lisée told the crowd that the PQ should also embrace Quebec's anglophone community "with open arms," before addressing anglophones directly in English, his second language. He asked them to break free of the current Liberal government's "electoral trap."

"As a leader, I will make sure that we have an open and fruitful dialogue on who we are and what we can build together," he said.

Lisée becomes the ninth leader of the Parti Québécois, replacing Pierre Karl Péladeau, who stepped down from the party and quit politics in May.

"The PQ comes out of this race reinvigorated," he said.

Alexandre Cloutier, left, was Lisée's main rival throughout the leadership campaign. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Péladeau immediately congratulated Lisée on Twitter, saying that Quebec and Quebecers "will continue to flourish" with the PQ.

Party members had the choice between Lisée, the member of the National Assembly for Rosemont, and two other sitting members, Cloutier and Martine Ouellet, as well as Montreal writer and lawyer, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

With files from Ryan Hicks, the Canadian Press and Radio-Canada

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