ON SECOND THOUGHT

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Lucien Bouchard, the charismatic leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois, has changed his mind about quitting the fray. Bouchard, who announced he was considering leaving politics after Quebec's referendum to secede from Canada was narrowly defeated last month, says he will seek to replace outgoing Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau. "Bouchard has put regionalism ahead of a national role in government," says TIME's William McWhirter. "What he's done is say Quebec is more important than the country. And given his success in galvanizing Quebeckers during the referendum, he is the province's best chance at gaining independence. Bouchard won't wait ten years, as the separatists did before, until he calls another election. But he can't call it too soon, either. The timing is very important. This election took a lot out of everyone. It exhausted everyone. He will likely not call it next year or the year after, but it will be before the turn of the century. Because of Bouchard's magnetism, they just might finally win." In the election on October 30, the separatists lost by only 53,000 votes out of the nearly 4.7 million cast.