12/19/2011 02:18 EST | Updated 02/18/2012 05:12 EST

Francois Legault: Leader Of Coalition for Quebec's Future Picks Up Four MNAs

QUEBEC - Quebec's newest, most popular political party now suddenly has eight members in the legislature and its boss is keen to welcome more, especially from the governing Liberals.

The Coalition for Quebec's Future announced Monday that four Independent MNAs are joining its ranks, following four members of the soon-to-be-disbanded Action democratique.

That gives Francois Legault's new party visibility in the legislature in the run-up to a provincial election, which could come in 2012.

And Legault says he'd welcome Liberals into his party's fold.

"I'm proud to have Pequistes and Adequistes and I hope in the coming months that we'll have some Liberals join us," he said at a news conference at the provincial legislature.

He said he hoped Liberal members used the holiday period to reflect on their future and stop "defending the indefensible."

"I don't understand today, with the shenanigans we've seen with the Liberal party, how there can still be those that condone the Liberal government," he said.

"It's time for Liberals to wake up, to shake off their immobility and join with us to rebuild Quebec."

Legault said he is not in negotiations with other members of the legislature to join his contingent.

His party is leading atop recent polls.

Led by Legault, a former Parti Quebecois sovereigntist, the party says it wants to put aside the independence debate for a while.

Along with its four ADQ members, the party's four Independents comprise two ex-ADQers and two former Pequistes.

Legault said that he will announce in January the names of several high-profile candidates for the next election, which Premier Jean Charest doesn't have to call until December 2013.

The Coalition will also meet in March to hammer out a platform.

Legault said Quebec is in serious difficulty now, saying it has one of the worst levels of economic growth in the country.