Duceppe said ready to jump to Parti Québécois

Bloc Leader not openly encouraging putsch against Boisclair

PQ - leadership en jeu - la tourmente

OTTAWA -- Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe is ready to jump to the Parti Québécois as the roadblocks that kept him in Ottawa in 2005 have all been cleared, sources said yesterday.
While Mr. Duceppe is not openly encouraging the putsch against current PQ Leader André Boisclair, his supporters feel the time is right for Mr. Duceppe to move to the provincial scene.
To make sure PQ militants are aware of the situation, Mr. Duceppe's supporters have "discreetly signalled" to senior sovereigntists across the province that he is waiting in the wings, a source said.
Mr. Duceppe has the support of his inner circle in Ottawa and a number of current and past PQ MNAs and Bloc MPs, sources said, although supporters are staying quiet for now.

A supporter of Mr. Duceppe said ideas are being pitched for an eventual leadership platform as the PQ decides what to do with Mr. Boisclair, who led the PQ this year to its worst electoral showing in decades.
While trying to avoid the subject in public, Mr. Duceppe is not closing the door on a leadership bid.
"Listen, we'll see everything that can happen between now and 2009," he said this week as he refused to confirm whether he will seek to lead the Bloc in the next election.
A Duceppe supporter said the situation is much different now than it was two years ago, when PQ leader Bernard Landry surprised his party and abruptly resigned after obtaining 76 per cent in a confidence vote.
Many observers said that Mr. Duceppe was the front-runner to replace him, but he resisted the call, in large part because of an explicit promise in 2004 to stay in Ottawa.
In addition, the sponsorship scandal was all over the news in Quebec. Sovereigntists were hoping that the Bloc could use the controversy to win a large number of seats in a federal election at the expense of the Liberals, setting the stage for a PQ victory in Quebec and a third referendum on independence. For that reason, key members of the Bloc's caucus pressed Mr. Duceppe to stay in Ottawa.
In addition, some PQ caucus members refused to roll out the welcome mat for Mr. Duceppe in 2005, given that several PQ MNAs were also gunning for the leadership at the time.
The situation is much different today, a Duceppe supporter said.
No one will be surprised if Mr. Boisclair is forced to resign soon. PQ militants, including former MNAs and senior members of riding associations, are openly calling for his head.
If Mr. Boisclair does fall, a candidacy from Mr. Duceppe will be facilitated by the fact that no federal election is imminent. With that in mind, sovereigntists feel it is important for the future of their movement to rebuild the PQ as a priority.
Senior members of the Bloc caucus, including former house leader Michel Gauthier, are urging Mr. Duceppe to run for the PQ, the source said.
In addition, at least one Bloc MP, House Leader Pierre Paquette, is already jockeying to replace Mr. Duceppe as the party's leader.
Finally, Mr. Duceppe's supporters are confident that most PQ members are ready to welcome him into their ranks, given that he wants to tackle the major rebuilding challenges.
"He truly feels he has a moral obligation to go," the Duceppe supporter said.

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