Formed 1993 as a separatist counterweight to the Mulroney-era Tory dominance in Québec's federal vote. By poaching PC seats in that general election, they were yet another factor in the Tories' national skid, and became the "loyal" opposition in the fractured parliament; they would have been an irritant anyway. Original leader: Lucien Bouchard, who left after the 1995 referendum to lead the Parti Québécois. Current boss: Gilles Duceppe.

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