VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The political landscape in BC is seeing a major shift with Christy Clark stepping down as leader of the Liberals and leaving her role as MLA in Kelowna-West.
Simon Fraser University Political Scientist David Moscrop says the New Democrats have a chance to pounce on some of their more divisive platforms, now that the Liberals are down a seat in the legislature.
The liberals have to set a date for a leadership vote within the next month.
“You have to call a by-election,” he explains. “You certainly risk defeat. I think that would be a temporary problem, I think they would win that riding pretty handily.”
As for who may take over as leader of the party, Moscrop noted Sam Sullivan and Andrew Wilkinson could be vying for the job but there is a chance a federal conservative could throw their hat into the ring.
Andrew Watson with Elections BC says a by-election must be held within six months.
“If there is a vacancy in the Legislative assembly, a warrant is sent to the chief electoral officers,” explains Watson. “The warrant is sent to the chief electoral officer by either the speaker or the clerk of the legislative assembly, and that six month timeline begins on the date that the warrant is received.”
Clark served as premier for six and a half years but failed to maintain her majority in May’s election.
The announcement comes just ten days after John Horgan was sworn-in as premier.
MLA for Langley East Rich Coleman has been chosen as interim caucus leader.