POLITICS

PQ leader Marois gets on with the job

01/24/2012 07:15 EST | Updated 03/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois said Monday the challenges to her leadership are behind her, and she's ready to get on with the job.

A relieved-looking Marois made the comments at a speech to a group of committed young sovereignists at l'Université de Montréal, just hours after former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe announced he's out of politics for good.

Duceppe had spent much of last week garnering support for a bid to unseat the besieged PQ leader, but over the weekend La Presse reported that Duceppe paid the Bloc's general manager, Gilbert Gardner, with public funds earmarked to run his office in Montreal.

In a short statement issued the day after the story broke, Duceppe said he is staying out of active politics to "defend his integrity and rebuild his reputation."

The current leader of the Bloc said he wasn't aware of the details, but he does not believe Duceppe broke the law.

"I have no right to look at that, it's part of the management from Mr. Duceppe," Daniel Paillé said. "I think it was good management."

Marois said Monday she was never worried about Duceppe taking her job, but her political opponents aren't so sure.

"It's about time we relaunch our economy," said Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault, who named his new party's executive last Sunday. "But we see this bad theatre between Mr. Duceppe, Mr. Drainville, Mme. Marois. I think people in Quebec, that's not what they want."

Marois may yet face another attack.

Party elder and former premier Bernard Landry is penning an open letter on the state of the party he once led. It's expected to be released on Tuesday.