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Seven candidates are in the running for a by-election to replace former Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard in the provincial riding of Roberval.

The riding has been vacant since Couillard quit politics days after losing October’s provincial election.

Elections Quebec says following a Saturday deadline, seven parties have put up a candidate seeking to replace the former premier when voters in the riding go to the polls on Dec. 10.

Couillard garnered 42 per cent of the votes cast on Oct. 1, easily winning the riding in the province’s Saguenay region.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec currently have 74 seats in the 125-seat legislature, followed by the Liberals at 29 and the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire at 10 each, and one Independent member.

Both sovereigntist parties were granted official party status on Thursday following a deal with government in spite of each falling two seats short of the minimum, meaning additional budgets and powers.

The deal is expected to be ratified when the new legislative session begins next week with a first sitting on Tuesday.

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