Yves-François Blanchet becomes Bloc Québécois leader

Former Parti Québécois minister Yves-François Blanchet has been named the new leader of the Bloc Québécois.

Blanchet succeeds Martine Ouellet, who resigned in June of last year following a split in the party and the departure of seven Bloc MPs.

Blanchet submitted his candidature in November and became the only declared candidate in the race.

“At the end of the nomination period, I received only one submission that met all the criteria prescribed by the Bloc Québécois’s leadership race rule, so I declare Mr. Yves-François Blanchet leader,” Pierre Bouchard, the party’s election officer, wrote in a brief statement sent overnight.

The Bloc Quebecois has struggled since the 2011 election, which saw the party drop to just four seats. The party won ten seats in the last federal election.

Blanchet, 53, was Environment Minister under PQ premier Pauline Marois from December 2012 to April 2014.

Stints in Quebec show biz

After that, Blanchet was a commentator on Radio-Canada’s afternoon TV show Les Ex, which analyzes social, political and economic issues.

Before entering politics, Blanchet worked in entertainment, including as the manager of famous Quebec rocker Éric Lapointe. He was also president of Quebec’s association for music, shows and film (ADISQ).

In a text published on the party’s website about his vision, Blanchet wrote that he was a candidate who would “tirelessly” promote Quebec independence in order to “win Quebec and win for Quebec.”

Also according to the website, the only other person who tried to join the race was Jean-Jacques Nantel, an engineer whose submission did not fit the party criteria.

Christian Hébert, who ran for the PQ in the October provincial election, had also announced his intention to run, but it’s unclear whether he pulled out of the race or if he too did not meet the criteria. Hébert finished fourth in the Quebec City-area riding of Portneuf.

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