NDP Faithful Reject Thomas Mulcair As Leader, Setting Up Leadership Battle

EDMONTON — Members of the NDP soundly rejected Tom Mulcair’s bid to stay on as the party’s leader, voting 52 per cent in favour of choosing a replacement within the next 12 months.

Mulcair, who less than a year ago appeared to be well-positioned to become Canada’s first NDP prime minister, received just 48 per cent support from delegates at the NDP convention in Edmonton, reported Canadian Press.

A bare-minimum 50 per cent plus one vote would have been necessary for Mulcair to stay on, let alone have anywhere near enough support for a confident mandate — a threshold some had pegged at closer to 70 per cent.

The result left the cavernous convention floor in a stunned silence. Mulcair was not in the room, but officials said he was backstage. It was not immediately clear whether he would come out to acknowledge the outcome of the vote.

The decision — a far worse result for Mulcair than even his fiercest detractors might have expected — was the culmination of a festering dispute over the NDP’s future direction in the wake of last year’s devastating election loss.

Less than six months ago, the party was badly outflanked by the Liberals in last October’s federal election and reduced to third-place status in the House of Commons.

The party began the campaign as the official Opposition and appeared poised to make a run at forming Canada’s first NDP government, only to collapse over the course of a historically long campaign and end up losing more than half its seats.

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