Nova Scotia

Voting begins to select next Nova Scotia Liberal Party leader and premier

Approximately 8,100 registered delegates have the option between today and Feb. 6 to vote for former Liberal cabinet ministers Randy Delorey, Labi Kousoulis or Iain Rankin. The result will be announced during a live virtual event on Saturday shortly after 6 p.m.

Randy Delorey, Labi Kousoulis and Iain Rankin are vying for the job

Sound Off: Why Liberal leadership candidates are careful to criticize the government

CBC News Nova Scotia

4 months ago
2:22
The three gentlemen vying for the premier's job have been careful how and where they direct their criticism of Stephen McNeil's tenure as they explain their vision for the future. Here's why. 2:22

Voting has officially opened in the election for a new Nova Scotia Liberal Party leader and premier of the province.

Approximately 8,100 registered delegates have the option between today and Feb. 6 to vote online or by phone for former Liberal cabinet ministers Randy Delorey, Labi Kousoulis or Iain Rankin. The result will be announced during a live virtual event on Saturday shortly after 6 p.m.

The party is using a ranked ballot, with each of the 55 electoral districts worth 100 points and points awarded based on vote share in each district. If no candidate has 50 per cent plus one of the points after the first ballot, the third-place candidate is dropped and the tallies recalculated to include the second-place choice from that candidate's ballots.

During a pre-recorded virtual event Sunday evening, each of the candidates made a final address to delegates, with their remarks mostly staying within the themes each has pushed throughout the campaign.

Premier Stephen McNeil announced in the summer that he would not seek re-election the next time Nova Scotians go to the polls. He's not said if he'll finish his term as MLA for Annapolis. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Rankin, the youngest candidate at 37, has positioned himself as a generational change with a major focus on the environment. Kousoulis has touted his small business experience and an economic development plan that includes more highway twinning. And Delorey, the former health minister, has tried to make the choice for delegates largely about who is best suited to continue the province's pandemic response.

COVID-19 pushed the leadership race almost entirely online due to public health protocols, with candidates relying on the telephone and virtual meetings to interact with prospective voters and try to secure support. The three party-organized debates were also held virtually.

The leadership race was called following the announcement this past summer by Premier Stephen McNeil that he would not seek re-election in the next provincial election. McNeil has not said whether he will finish his term as the MLA for Annapolis.

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