Lucien Bouchard (born December 22, 1938) is a Quebecois politician, lawyer and diplomat who served as the first and only leader of the Bloc Quebecois and the second Prime Minister of Quebec from 1995 until 2001, when he resigned in favor of Bernard Landry. In 2011, he was elected to be the 5th President of Quebec. Bouchard was a central figure both in the fall of Communism in Canada, and later became the floor leader of the Bloc Québécois political party in the Parliament of Canada after surprisingly strong gains in the 1989 elections.
After sweeping nearly every Québecois riding in the 1994 elections in the leadup to the 1995 sovereignty referendum, Bouchard was an integral leader of the "Yes" campaign that followed thereafter and became the federal face of the movement while his counterpart at the provincial level, Jacques Parizeau, led the Parti Quebecois, the Bloc's sister party, in the National Assembly. With the success of the "Yes" vote, Bouchard and the Bloc Quebecois ceased to take their seats in the Canadian Parliament on November 24, 1995. He was subsequently one of the chief architects of the Constitution of Québec and became the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Québec on December 2 with the resignation of Jacques Parizeau to assume the Presidency three days later.
However, the dominant PQ had an underwhelming performance in the 1998 elections after years of economic difficulties, political infighting within the PQ and ethnic violence, returning only a minority government with less than 40% of the total vote. Embarrassed after polls had shown the PQ getting nearly 70% of the vote two months before the election, Bouchard's mandate was crippled within his own party and after three difficult and fractious years resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in 2001 in the face of mounting economic difficulties, though he would retain his seat until the 2003 election, when he retired and his seat was won by the PLQ. After four years of retirement, he was made Ambassador to Canada, arguably the most important ambassadorship for Québec, and in late November of 2011 was elected President of Québec for the mostly ceremonial position.