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Gilles Duceppe says he's not interested in seeking Parti Quebecois leadership

Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is shown talking to media after appearing before the Commons Board of Internal Economy on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday February 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

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Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is shown talking to media after appearing before the Commons Board of Internal Economy on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday February 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

QUEBEC - Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe has categorically ruled out a run at the Parti Quebecois's top job.

After leaving open the possibility of seeking the PQ leadership, Duceppe said Tuesday he's not interested.

"I'm not going for it," he told The Canadian Press.

"I think it's much better that the leader be someone who is already elected. The party needs to have internal discussions, it can't be a personality contest and we need to know where candidates stand."

Duceppe had been coy about his future, particularly since the publication of an opinion poll a few weeks ago that suggested he would be the PQ's best bet to increase support for the battered sovereigntist party.

Duceppe will be 67 in July but said age was not a factor in his decision to remain on the sidelines.

"I'm the same age as Hillary Clinton," he said in reference to the would-be U.S. presidential candidate.

Pauline Marois announced her resignation as PQ leader last April 7 when the party won only 30 of the province's 125 ridings in the general election.

Caucus member Stephane Bedard is filling in on an interim basis.

The next Quebec election is set for 2018.

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