Duceppe steps down

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL—Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois’ first-ever MP and the man who dominated the party for nearly 15 years, stepped down as leader yesterday after a less-than-stellar performance in this week’s election.
Duceppe’s departure comes four months into his second spell as head of the sovereigntist party following a 14-year stint between 1997 and 2011.
The Bloc won 10 out of Quebec’s 78 ridings on Monday—leaving it two short of the 12 seats required for official party status.
Compounding its woes was another double whammy—Duceppe losing his Montreal riding for the second election in a row and the party garnering just 19.3 percent of the popular vote in Quebec.
After stating earlier this week that the numbers weren’t good enough, Duceppe said yesterday the 10 MPs will provide the party with stability until the next election.
“This time the Bloc’s future was on the line,” he noted.
“And my return [last June] was aimed at saving this party, which is important for the 817,000 Quebecers who voted for us,” added Duceppe.
“With the election of 10 MPs, the future of the party is guaranteed for the next four years.
“I obviously would have liked more and to have won my riding,” he conceded.
“But overall, I’m leaving with the feeling of a sense of accomplishment.”
Duceppe will be replaced on an interim basis by Rheal Fortin, who was elected in a riding north of Montreal on Monday.