Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe confirms he’s stepping down

Gilles Duceppe has confirmed he is stepping down as leader of the Bloc Quebecois after just four months in charge.

MONTREAL — Gilles Duceppe has confirmed he is stepping down as leader of the Bloc Quebecois after just four months in charge.

Duceppe made the announcement at Bloc headquarters in Montreal this afternoon.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Rheal Fortin, who was elected in a riding north of Montreal in Monday’s election.

Duceppe’s departure comes three days after the sovereigntist party garnered 19.3 per cent of the popular vote in Quebec and won 10 out of the province’s 78 ridings — two short of the number required for official party status.

Earlier this week, Duceppe, 68, said the results weren’t good enough.

He also lost his own Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie for the second straight election to the NDP’s Helene Laverdiere.

Duceppe led the Bloc for 14 years before he stepped down in 2011 after the party won just four seats.

He became leader once again last June, when language-activist Mario Beaulieu stepped aside to make way for the more widely known and respected politician.

Parti Quebecois Leader Pierre Karl Peladeau said Wednesday he wanted Duceppe to stay on, saying the BQ leader had a handle on federal issues as well as a good knowledge of federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.