Stelmach wins 77% support for leadership

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach receives 77 per cent support in a leadership review vote by Progressive Conservative delegates meeting in Red Deer.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach received 77 per cent support in a leadership review vote by Progressive Conservative delegates meeting in Red Deer on Saturday.

"It's good support given some of the issues that we're facing," Stelmach told reporters after the results were announced to 1,300 cheering delegates.

"It's a big tent and that's one of the reasons for the success of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party over the decades."

Stelmach has faced division within the Tory ranks in recent months because of the sour economy and nagging controversies, including the troubled rollout of the province's H1N1 vaccine program.

He's also facing a challenge from the upstart Wildrose Alliance, a right-wing party that has been energized by a recent byelection win and leadership race.

But on Saturday, 922 delegates voted against a leadership contest and just 269 voted for the startup of a process to pick a new leader.

Alberta's Progressive Conservatives require a leadership review after every general election. Stelmach delivered a landslide victory for the party in 2008, winning 72 of 83 seats in the legislature.

Former premier Ralph Klein was forced to resign when the Tories held their last leadership review vote in 2006 and he received only 55 per cent support.