OTTAWA -- Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the embattled Liberal Party of Canada on Sunday, 45 years after his charismatic and contentious father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, assumed the same political position.
Mr. Trudeau, 41, is now faced with reviving a party that was once the dominant force in Canadian federal politics, especially during many of his father's 15 years as prime minister. The Liberals have since waned to the point that now, for the first time in the party's history, it is neither in government nor the leading opposition party in Parliament.
A former high school teacher who was elected to Parliament in 2008, Mr. Trudeau drew large crowds throughout the protracted party leadership campaign, largely on the strength of his family name and his cordial, confident public style. He was widely criticized by political analysts for offering little of substance in the contest.
Breaking with past practice, the Liberals conducted the leadership vote electronically and opened the balloting to the party's rank and file members and supporters, rather than just delegates at a party convention. Mr. Trudeau won handily over the five other candidates, with 80.2 percent of the vote.
The Liberals' standing with the public has suffered over the past decade from a major ethics scandal in Quebec and from three consecutive party leaders who had distinguished résumés but left voters unimpressed. The party has also struggled to adapt to new campaign finance rules banning corporate and union donations and limiting individual contributions to relatively small amounts -- rules that were enacted by a Liberal government.
Mr. Trudeau has acknowledged that his family name cuts two ways in Canada. In the west, his father's efforts to assert greater state control over the oil and gas industry are still the stuff of bitter memories, and his father's strong opposition to Quebec's separatist movement remains divisive in that province. Pierre Trudeau died in 2000.
Even so, Justin Trudeau's charismatic youthfulness -- an echo of his father's -- stands in sharp contrast to the wooden style of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative who took power in 2006. And Mr. Trudeau's campaign against the Conservatives' political style, which promotes polarizing issues, appeared to resonate with voters.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.