WATCH: Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois joins Québec Solidaire; will run in Gouin by-election

Former student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who made a name for himself during the wave of student protests against tuition hikes in 2012, is now making the jump into the political arena.

Nadeau-Dubois, 26, is joining the left-wing, pro-independence Québec Solidaire party, and will seek the party's nomination to run in the riding of Gouin in an upcoming by-election.

The riding was left vacant when the party's co-spokesperson, Françoise David, quit politics in January, citing fatigue.

Nadeau-Dubois says he identifies as a separatist, but believes that the Parti Québecois has strayed too far away from what he believes are the real needs of people.

Five years ago, Nadeau-Dubois was considered the most radical of the three main student leaders taking part in the so-called "red square" protests against the then-Charest government's plans to raise tuition fees at universities.

He says his message now is a little more positive than it was when he fronted the CLASSE student group.

“I’m at a point in my political life in which I want to be more positive, and not only say ‘we don’t want austerity’ or ‘we don’t want the Energy East pipeline,’ but say: this is the Quebec we want, and this is the Quebec we can build together,” Nadeau-Dubois told reporters on Thursday.

The by-election in Gouin has not yet been called.

The two other student protest leaders that year, Léo Bureau-Blouin and Martine Desjardins, also tried their hands at politics, both with the Parti Québecois, At 20 years of age, Bureau-Blouin became the youngest MNA in history when he was elected in the Laval-des-Rapides riding in 2012. He was defeated by a Liberal in 2014.

Desjardins, meanwhile, ran in the north shore riding of Groulx in 2014, and finished third behind the CAQ and Liberals in a tight race.