Lawyer Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, 43, elected new chief of Parti Quebecois

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Lawyer Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, 43, elected new leader of Parti Quebecois

MONTREAL – Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a 43-year-old lawyer with no seat in the Quebec Legislature, defeated the establishment candidate in Friday's third round to become the new leader of the Sovereignist Parti Quebecois.

MONTREAL – Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a 43-year-old lawyer with no seat in the Quebec Legislature, defeated the establishment candidate in Friday's third round to become the new leader of the Sovereignist Parti Quebecois.

Plamondon, who failed to make it past the first ballot when running for party chairman in 2016, beat PQ member Sylvain Gaudreault with 56 percent of the vote.

The new PQ leader inherits a nine-seat party, none of which is a major urban center.

It is currently the fourth of four parties in Quebec's 125-seat legislature. The once powerful party that brought Quebec to within a few thousand votes after separating from Canada in 1995 is at one of the lowest points in its history.

But Plamondon did not talk about any of these facts in his victory speech and instead promised the rebirth of the party.

"The dream is not over yet; it will be renewed soon," he said.

The youngest of four leadership candidates, Plamondon was a party activist for years and was special advisor to the last leader, Jean-Francois Lisee, who led the PQ in 2018 to its worst election result since the early 1970s.

Speaking from the party center in Montreal, Plamondon said the PQ, under his leadership, would go on the offensive to combat what he called the British colonial regime, which denies the interests of Quebecers.

"The PQ exists to give Quebecers their freedom," he said.

The event on Friday was largely online and included video addresses of former party leaders such as ex-prime minister Pauline Marois and Pierre Karl Peladeau, CEO of the media and telecommunications company Quebecor.

The new PQ leader succeeds Pascal Berube, a member of a riding on the Gaspe Peninsula who has served as interim leader since the 2018 elections.

Plamondon's other two opponents were Guy Nantel, 52, a famous Quebec comedian who finished third. and Frederic Bastien, 51, a historian and junior college teacher in Montreal.

Around 25,000 people, who represent around 71 percent of the party members, voted.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 9, 2020.

Giuseppe Valiante, the Canadian press