Nfld. & Labrador

Alison Coffin stepping down as NDP leader in N.L.

The move comes after Coffin lost her seat in the March provincial election.

Move comes after losses in March provincial election

Alison Coffin, pictured here in April, has announced she's stepping down as leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP. (Patrick Butler/Radio-Canada)

Alison Coffin is stepping down as the leader of the New Democratic Party in Newfoundland and Labrador, just days after more than half of the party's delegates voted in favour of a leadership review.

Coffin made the announcement at a media conference at Confederation Building in St. John's on Tuesday afternoon.

"After reflecting over the last couple of days, to ensure our incoming executive can focus on the task they have before them, which is building a fair future for everyone, I have made the decision to step down as the leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party," Coffin said, reading from a prepared statement. 

During her short speech, Coffin thanked members of the party, the executive and her family, reiterated NDP priorities and took a shot at the governing Liberals.

"Our vision for the future is not what the Liberals have in mind," she said.

St. John's Centre MHA Jim Dinn, will serve as the interim leader, according to the party executive's president.

Kyle Rees, the president of the provincial NDP, says Coffin has done a great job leading the party for the past two years. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Coffin and Dinn would not take questions during the media availability, directing them instead to N.L. NDP president Kyle Rees.

"She has run a marathon at a sprinter's pace. She has dealt with issues within this province that I think are unprecedented and issues that we will hopefully never see the light of again," said Rees. 

Rees said he will recommend the party wait as long as a year before opening up leadership nominations. 

"We will allow Jim Dinn under his guidance and interim leadership to lead the party while we focus on building the party," he said.

Court challenge 

In March, Coffin narrowly lost her own seat of St. John's East-Quidi Vidi in a provincial election that was riddled with delays and errors

The NDP took legal action, demanding the election results be thrown out and a new vote ordered, targeting the St. John's East-Quidi Vidi district. The court challenges contained scathing accusations against Newfoundland and Labrador's elections agency, alleging widespread and illegal mishandling of the electoral process. 

Rees said Coffin stepping down doesn't affect the court challenge. 

"We think we have an excellent case there." 

The case is scheduled to be heard in court in February and will take three weeks. The party is asking a byelection be declared and hopes Coffin will submit her name as the candidate said Rees.

"That is one of the reasons to delay a leadership race for some time, because we fully expect there to be a byelection in that district."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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