Yellowknife South MLA Bob McLeod has been selected as the new premier of the Northwest Territories, after MLAs voted in a secret ballot in the legislative assembly in Yellowknife just after noon MT.

The N.W.T. has no political parties, and its legislative assembly is run by consensus government, where the individual MLAs decide which of them becomes premier.  

"I’m very humbled by your support for me as premier and I pledge I will do the best job that I can, to work with all of you in the best interest of the people of the Northwest Territories," McLeod told the assembly.

McLeod was acclaimed in his riding in the Oct. 3 election. Outgoing premier Floyd Roland was also acclaimed prior to his selection as premier.

There have been repeated calls to change the system, and it was a key issue in the recent campaign.

The other candidates for premier were Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger and Nahendeh MLA Kevin Menicoche.

During the candidate's statements prior to voting, McLeod told the assembly he would bring trust and collaboration to the government's relationships with aboriginal governments and the federal government, and that quick action on devolution is a must.

He added that he wants a balanced approach between the N.W.T. regulatory system and environmental stewardship, while also aiming to diversify the economy, and work on tourism, to safeguard against global recessions.

Miltenberger had told his fellow MLAs it was time to measure work ethic, experience and collectively choose the right leader, pointing out he has served 16 years as an MLA, and 10 years in cabinet. He also said devolution is the answer to demands for control over water, animals, and regulatory processes.

Menicoche said he had proven himself as a team player and consensus builder, and it's important to have premiers from the small communities to bring their issues to the forefront.

Each MLA was allowed to ask two questions of the candidates for premier.

Issues raised by MLAs included working with aboriginal leaders, addressing the high cost of living, working for consensus with regular MLAs, supplementary health services for seniors, and infrastructure problems in the Northlands neighbourhood of Yellowknife.