New leader for Saskatchewan Party

A new Saskatchewan Party leader was acclaimed Monday as the legislature prepares to re-open.

A new leader was acclaimed Monday to head the Saskatchewan Party as the province's legislature prepares to open with its two parties virtually tied for seats.

Brad Wall will return to the legislature Thursday as leader of a party that holds 28 seats to the governing New Democrats' 30.

However, one New Democratic MLA is expected to be elected Speaker and another, Deputy Premier Clay Serby, is on an extended medical leave.

"The people of the province gave [Premier Lorne] Calvert a very, very thin majority," Wall told the Canadian Press.

"He's going to have a lot of fun managing that thin majority and we're not going to take any of his fun away."

Wall, 38, succeeds Elwin Hermanson, a farmer and former Reform member of Parliament.

Hermanson had been the leader of the party since 1997, when it was founded following a corruption scandal that destroyed Saskatchewan's Conservative party.

He stepped down after last year's provincial election, in which the Saskatchewan Party came within two seats of toppling the NDP.