Provincial NDP elects Raphaël Fortin to lead party into fall election

The New Democratic Party of Quebec (NDPQ) has a new leader: Raphaël Fortin, a graduate of UQAM's business administration program who has run for the federal NDP in the past.

Fortin garnered 62 per cent of the vote, beating his lone opponent

Raphaël Fortin, 37, is the new leader of Quebec's New Democratic Party. (CBC)

The members of the New Democratic Party of Quebec (NDPQ) have chosen Raphaël Fortin to lead them into the upcoming election.

Fortin, 37, garnered 62 per cent of the vote, beating his lone opponent, Raymond Côté.

"I'm going to be a very open-minded leader," Fortin said after being elected at the Centre communautaire Sainte-Catherine d'Alexandrie in Montreal.

"I'm going to listen to my people. It's how I developed those ideas for my platform — it was the work of a team, it's not a one-man show."

He campaigned for four months before winning the provincial party's top spot.

A total of 397 people cast votes, which represents a 67.51 per cent voter turnout rate.

The NDP in Quebec will run candidates for office in the provincial election, currently set for Oct. 1, for the first time in over a decade.

During a leadership debate last month, Fortin said the NDPQ offers a new choice for people who are left-leaning but don't support the sovereignty movement.

He said his election strategy will be announced in the coming weeks, with fundraising for the campaign being one of his first goals.

NDPQ aims to woo anglophones

For the party's president, Denis Blanchette, the NDPQ represents a "real choice" for Quebec's anglophones. He said they haven't had one, until now.

Fortin and opponent Raymond Côté await the results of the election today in Montreal. (CBC)

He added that the party wants to offer a reason to vote in a way that's positive for people in communities across Quebec.

"We have to offer an alternative. The people of the province deserve it," Blanchette said.

Fortin's platform

According to his website, Fortin wants to "lead the building of a new, progressive, and pragmatic party" and create a government "for all Quebecers."

His main goals are to maintain a strong middle class, and help the marginalized access more opportunities.

This isn't his first run at politics. Fortin ran for the federal NDP in the Verchères—Les Patriotes riding in 2008, and again in 2015 in the newly created Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères riding. The Bloc Québécois candidate won both times.

Fortin, who holds a bachelor's in business administration from the Université du Québec à Montréal, has been endorsed by Paulina Ayala, who served as an MP from 2011 to 2015.

The provincial NDP was resurrected in 2014, after an earlier version of the party separated from the federal NDP in 1989. That earlier party later changed its name to the Parti de la democratie socialiste (PDS), which would then become a founding pillar of Québec Solidaire.

With files from Radio-Canada