Quebec Premier Resigns
QUEBEC (AP) _ Lucien Bouchard announced his resignation as Quebec premier Thursday, citing his inability to gain independence for Canada’s Francophone province and amid impatience by hard-liners at his cautious approach.
Bouchard said he would remain in his post until a successor could be chosen. That was expected to take several weeks.
He made the announcement after holding emergency meetings of his Cabinet and the Parti Quebecois caucus in the Quebec legislature.
In his resignation statement, Bouchard, speaking in French, said his role as premier and Parti Quebecois leader was to bring sovereignty to the province.
``The results of my work are not very convincing,″ he said, later adding: ``I assume all of the responsibility which is mine because I did not manage to relight the flame and to sensitize our citizens to the gravity of the situation.″
A champion of the Quebec sovereignty cause who led the campaign that barely failed to win a 1995 referendum on the matter, Bouchard, 62, has faced heavy criticism from Parti Quebecois hard-liners who wanted him to push more strongly for holding another sovereignty vote.
While saying he wanted another sovereignty referendum before his term as premier expired in 2003, Bouchard also has repeatedly insisted that ``winning conditions″ must exist, including a stable provincial economy and strong public support.
With opinion polls showing dwindling support for another referendum, Bouchard decided to get out of politics to work privately and be with his wife and two young sons.
Bouchard lost a leg to flesh-eating disease in 1994, but his health was not considered a factor in his resignation.