Lévesque, René (lāvĕkˈ) [key], 1922–87, Canadian political leader and Quebec separatist. After a career in journalism and television, he served in the Quebec National Assembly (1961–67) as a member of the Liberal party. He left the Liberal party in 1967 and founded (1968) the Parti Québécois, which advocated Quebec's secession from Canada. In 1976, the Parti Québécois was the victor in provincial elections, and Lévesque became premier. A 1980 referendum on separation from Canada won the support of only 40% of the voters, but Lévesque remained premier until 1985, when he resigned as party leader and premier after the party voted to temporarily abandon the goal of separation.
See biography by D. Poliquin (2009).
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