01/18/2012 07:24 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Gilles Duceppe: Former Bloc Leader Evasive On Political Future As Rumours Fly About Pauline Marois Quitting PQ

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QUEBEC - Parti Quebecois members suggested Wednesday they might be looking for a new leader as early as next week.

And former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is doing little to dispel suggestions he might be looking at a new career in provincial politics in the PQ's top job.

Beseiged PQ chief Pauline Marois, who is facing a new round of challenges to her leadership, has said she intends to stay at the helm, but not everyone is convinced following recent remarks that her party is dead with her at the top.

"l wouldn't be surprised if she quit at the beginning of next week," one PQ member of the legislature told The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity.

Duceppe has been evasive about his political plans in interviews.

He did say Wednesday, however, he is confident Marois "will make the right decisions for the future of the (sovereignty) movement" at a three-day party meeting that begins Jan. 27.

Others have expressed their loyalty to Marois.

"I think, on the contrary, that the leadership question is behind us," said PQ member Alexandre Cloutier, adding that Duceppe will help, not replace Marois, in the next election and that they will form "an extraordinary pair."

House leader Stephane Bedard predicted Marois will stay.

"We need her," he said.

There has also been little progress in an alliance of the PQ and Quebec solidaire proposed by Marois.

Quebec solidaire, which has one member in the legislature, will still challenge PQ candidates in the next election.

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