Arthur Mitchell stepped down as leader of the Liberal party after he lost his seat in the Copperbelt North riding, mirroring the poor showing of his party in Tuesday's election.
Newcomer Currie Dixon won soundly against the longtime leader. Dixon won 520 votes, with Mitchell winning 407 and the New Democratic Party's Skeeter Miller-Wright won 159.
"Today our territory voted and it may not have ended as we had hoped," said Mitchell, who had to stop speaking twice as he began to break up.
"We have to respect that decision. Politics sometimes teaches hard lessons and I'm sure we're all a bit stronger for having learned them," he said.
Mitchell said that although the parties have some philosophical differences, he believes that everyone comes to the job of politician because they believe in the territory.
Mitchell also congratulated the Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski, who won the Mountainview riding, and the NDP's Liz Hanson, who won in Whitehorse Centre.
He said the elected Liberal members will continue to work with the NDP.
Arthur Mitchell had been at the helm of the Liberal party for the past six years. The 61-year old former real estate agent and general store owner ran in 2002 for the Whitehorse riding of Copperbelt, losing to the Yukon Party’s Haakon Arntzen.
Mitchell ran in 2005’s Liberal leadership race, ousting longtime party leader Pat Duncan by just 54 votes.
Mitchell then won the 2006 by-election for Copperbelt, when Arntzen stepped down amid legal problems.
Mitchell was re-elected in the 2006 territorial election.