The leader of Canada's Parti Quebecois resigned on Tuesday after a heavy defeat in the Quebec provincial election in late March, a departure that looks likely to harm the independence movement.
Andre Boisclair had held the job for just 18 months but his resignation was widely expected, particularly in the wake of a weekend interview in which he lashed out at a rival.
The Parti Quebecois wants independence for French-speaking Quebec, Canada's second most populous province with 7.5 million people. Quebec held referendums on independence in 1980 and 1995, both of which failed.
"I am stepping down from the leadership of the Parti Quebecois," Boisclair told reporters in Quebec City, at one point stopping to fight back tears.
He said he accepted his share of responsibility for the defeat. "However, my leadership has been questioned so intensely that I cannot begin the essential process of reflection that the party needs," he said.
Parti Quebecois members are notoriously impatient and Boisclair is the fourth party leader to resign in less than 12 years. He had promised to quickly hold another referendum on Quebec independence if he won the election.
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2007, 11:30