Former Bloc Québécois chief Gilles Duceppe has sent a letter to Pauline Marois in which he assures the Parti Québécois Leader he is not waging a behind-the-scenes campaign to bring her down.
Released Tuesday morning, the letter aims to put an end to months of rumours Mr. Duceppe is looking to enter provincial politics after his stinging defeat in the May 2 federal election.
The former Bloc leader has expressed public support for Ms. Marois, but PQ officials and her supporters couldn’t help but notice he always refused to shut the door on an eventual bid to lead the sovereigntist party. The situation led a number of PQ members to openly speculate in recent days that Ms. Marois – who is facing negative poll numbers – could resign as leader and be replaced by Mr. Duceppe.
Mr. Duceppe did contemplate running for the PQ leadership in 2005 and 2007, going as far as briefly resigning from his position as Bloc leader the second time around before abruptly changing his mind and endorsing Ms. Marois’s candidacy.
Speculation about Mr. Duceppe’s intentions flared up again a week ago when a poll by Léger Marketing showed he would vastly improve the PQ’s performance against the upstart Coalition pour l’Avenir du Québec.
In his letter, Mr. Duceppe tells Ms. Marois that he is not waiting in the wings to replace her.
“I have no intention of replacing anyone. I neither condone nor encourage any questioning of your leadership,” Mr. Duceppe said. “On the contrary, as I have told you in private and in public, I hope that you will lead the Parti Québécois to victory in the next elections.”
Mr. Duceppe adds that it is time for sovereigntists in Quebec to end their divisions, explaining that “I do not feel ready, at this time, to return to active politics.”
The Bloc was almost wiped out in the last federal elections, with Mr. Duceppe losing his own seat, at the hands of the NDP.