Jean Chretien was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada at a convention in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday night.
He replaced his old rival John Turner as leader. Turner resigned the post in January 1990 after leading it for seven tumultuous years.
Turner took the helm of the party, which has the reputation of being the "natural governing party of Canada," after former Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau resigned in 1983.
Turner was enticed back into politics after leaving in 1976 and won the 1983 convention.
"While Chretien came second to Turner, he was first in our hearts," as former party president Iona Campignola said.
Turner led the party into its worst electoral defeat in 1984, and a second defeat in 1988. Chretien quit politics in 1985, unable to work with Turner.
Last night, however, he returned with a vengeance, winning on the first ballot.
He is expected to run in a by-election shortly and take up his position in the House of Commons.