Born: June 24, 1958, in Sherbrooke, Que.
Education: Law degree from Universite de Sherbrooke.
Professional career: Admitted to Quebec bar in 1981.
Political career: Elected as Conservative MP for Sherbrooke in 1984 and served there until 1998; became youngest federal minister in Canadian history in 1986, as minister for youth, but had to resign in 1990 after improperly calling a judge about a case; returned to cabinet as environment minister in 1991; deputy prime minister from June 25, 1993, until Nov. 3, 1993; leader of federal Progressive Conservative party from 1993 to 1998; became leader of Quebec Liberal party in 1998 and Quebec premier in 2003. Re-elected with minority government in 2007 and majority in 2008.
Personal: Married, with three grown children.
Quote: "It's going to be a different election campaign, I believe, from what we've seen in a long time because it will be a matter of choosing two visions of Quebec. . . . Do we want to live in a society where we respect each other, we respect our institutions and democracy or do we want to be governed by the street and by those who believe that you should (flout) laws?" — Charest, on the PQ's support for student strikes.