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Quebec Liberals plan quick race to replace Jean Charest

Quebec Liberal Party Leader Jean Charest responds to questions at a news conference in Saint-Romain, Que., on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Quebecers are going to the polls on Sept. 4.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec Liberals are planning a quick leadership race that would have a successor to Jean Charest in place during the winter.

The party is expected to meet in early October to set the rules for a leadership contest for a successor to Mr. Charest, who resigned after being defeated in the Sept. 4 provincial election and losing his own riding.

The Liberals' executive committee proposed today that outgoing Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier be named interim leader.

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The Liberal caucus is expected to confirm the choice Wednesday.

Party brass want a new leader in time to deal with premier-designate Pauline Marois's first budget, which will likely be brought down in March.

Several members of Mr. Charest's government are considering a leadership bid, as well as a few former ministers.

Among those in the government are Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, Transport Minister Pierre Moreau, Health Minister Yves Bolduc, Labour Minister Lise Theriault and Economic Development Minister Sam Hamad.

Others outside the caucus include former health minister Philippe Couillard and ex-intergovernmental affairs minister Benoit Pelletier.

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