The leader of the Parti Quebecois is in for a fight in his own riding in the upcoming provincial election.

Prominent journalist Vincent Marissal announced Tuesday he'll be running for Quebec Solidaire in the Rosemont riding.

Smiling, but admittedly nervous, Marissal made the announcement surrounded by Quebec Solidaire's co-leaders Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Manon Massé.

“My neighbours, the people of Rosemont, I know them, they know me. I can feel they are ready for something else,” he said.

For almost 30 years Marissal was a leading political journalist and then columnist for La Presse.

He told an interviewer two years ago that Quebecers no longer have an appetite for Quebec independence, leading some to express surprise he's now running for a separatist party.

“My job at the time was not to take sides, was not to say to people, vote this way or vote that way, my job was to analyze the political landscape based on the real stuff, including polls,” he said.

Marissal says he was approached by just about every political party over the years.

Political commentator Bernard Drainville claimed Marissal had approached the federal Liberal Party to run in a by-election in Outremont, a claim later confirmed by reporters with Marissal's former employer La Presse.

However Marissal denied that he approached the Liberals, saying he approached Quebec Solidaire because it best represents his left-wing values.

It came as a surprise even to Quebec Solidaire.

“Vincent Marissal was not on any list and that’s probably the proof that he was doing a great job as a journalist to hide his ideological preferences, so I was surprised – but it was a beautiful surprise,” said Nadeau-Dubois.

Quebec Solidaire currently holds three seats in the National Assembly, and is trailing in the polls behind the other parties.

Still, Lisée last week expressed concern that Marissal running would help the Liberals win in Rosemont.

“My main opponent in Rosemont is the Liberals, you know, they have a solid base. They did hold the riding a few cycles back. And it's clear that, you know, I'm confident of winning the riding. I've been very present, I have a good relationship with the people there, but let's have the hypothesis that a candidate from Quebec Solidaire of some importance decided to go to Rosemont and did well. The only output, the only possible output would be a win for the Liberals,” he said.

The election is slated for October 1.