PLQ and PQ suspend their leadership contest until further notice
The Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) announced Friday that it will suspend its leadership contest until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
C ette decision was made by agreement with both candidates, Alexandre Cusson and Dominique Anglade, said the party in a statement.
The PLQ thus found itself responding positively to the request of Mr. Cusson, who on Thursday had put pressure on the executive to suspend the race.
According to the former mayor of Drummondville, it was “irresponsible” to continue as if everything was normal, while Quebecers are mobilized to fight the coronavirus.
Her rival, Ms. Anglade, a former Liberal minister, had rather argued that the race, which is coming to an end, should continue virtually.
The vote to elect the new leader of the PLQ was to be held on May 31. By then, five debates would be broadcast on the web. The party had canceled all of its public activities, in accordance with public health directives.
Friday, PLQ president Linda Caron said that given the “exceptional” context, the executive had decided to suspend the race until further notice and set a new schedule as soon as possible.
“Our priority is to show solidarity with the entire population of Quebec,” she said.
Alexandre Cusson immediately welcomed the PLQ’s decision.
“This decision will allow everyone (…) to focus on what is essential, that is to do everything possible to fight the pandemic that we are currently experiencing,” he said in a press release.
For her part, Ms. Anglade, who had not requested the suspension of the race, said that she welcomed the decision. She assured the party of her full collaboration.
She says that Quebec is currently experiencing a crisis “of unprecedented magnitude” and that the priority must be to contribute to the collective effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The party’s decision will allow her to put all of her energies “in the right place,” she said.
“I will therefore continue to look after the well-being of the citizens of my riding and play my role as economic critic for the official opposition,” she added.
The Parti Québécois, which is also holding a leadership contest, announced in the evening that it too will postpone the vote to elect a new leader. The ballot, which was originally scheduled for June, will finally be held on August 28.
The race is not suspended, but rather “extended,” said a spokesperson. The nomination period has been extended by three weeks and new dates for the debates will be set.
The candidates competing in this race are the Member of Parliament for Jonquière Sylvain Gaudreault, the lawyer Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, the humorist Guy Nantel and the historian Frédéric Bastien.