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However, the ADQ's popularity declined significantly soon afterward and in the 2008 provincial elections, the party failed to secure at least twenty percent of the popular vote or twelve Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) in the last election, and consequently lost official party status, though in early 2009 it was recognised as an official party by the PLQ and the PQ.
The party was formed in 1994 by a group of nationalists, known as les allairistes, that supported the Allaire Report, a document that advocated a decentralized federal system in which the provincial Government of Quebec would have significantly increased powers.
Its members were referred to as adéquistes, a name derived from the French pronunciation of the initials 'ADQ'.
The party was founded by dissidents of the Quebec Liberal Party who did not accept the Charlottetown Accord, and first contested the 1994 provincial election, electing Mario Dumont to the National Assembly.
The ADQ drew enough votes from previous PQ supporters to give the victory to Jean Charest's Liberals, but did not make a significant breakthrough in the National Assembly.
In the months that followed the election, the ADQ benefited from anger over the decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) not to renew the license of Quebec City radio station CHOI-FM.
Although Dumont was a very popular leader, support for the ADQ always lagged well behind him.
In fact, for many years, the ADQ tried to capitialize on Dumont's personal popularity by using the official name Action démocratique du Québec-Équipe Mario Dumont (Action démocratique du Québec-Team Mario Dumont).
After the by-election wins, the ADQ soared in popularity, leading the established parties in public opinion polling for the first time in its existence.In the ensuing election campaign, Dumont took part in the televised leaders debate and was elected as an MNA, but could not expand his electoral support significantly enough to get other party members elected.For the next eight years, he was the ADQ's lone MNA.After the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, which made many Québécois feel rejected by the rest of Canada, the Liberals adopted the Allaire Report as their constitutional policy.However, the party later chose the Charlottetown Accord over the Allaire Report in 1992.
As a result of the ADQ attaining greater popular support, its political opponents conducted negative campaigning against the ADQ for the first time.