Liberal MLA Robert Mitchell posts that he's stepping down

Robert Mitchell, the MLA for Charlottetown-Winsloe who was at one time last year considering a bid for the P.E.I. Liberal leadership, says he is vacating his seat.

Mitchell was interim leader of provincial party for a brief time

Robert Mitchell is leaving his seat as the Liberal MLA for Charlottetown-Winsloe after 13 years. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Robert Mitchell, the MLA for Charlottetown-Winsloe who was at one time last year considering a bid for the P.E.I. Liberal leadership, says he is vacating his seat. 

He tweeted on Thursday: "Today I made the decision to step down as MLA for the district of Charlottetown-Winsloe. It has been both an honor and a privilege to be the provincial government representative for this district and the previous district of Charlottetown-Sherwood for the past 13 plus years."

A Facebook post added more detail, with Mitchell thanking voters, his district executive, his colleagues and his family.

In response to the MLA's announcement, the Liberal Party's account tweeted: "Robert Mitchell served for thirteen years as a critical member of our Liberal team. His service and time in office is marked by many accomplishments. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island, we wish you a happy retirement! Congratulations Robert!"

In May 2019, Mitchell became interim Liberal leader after the departure of Wade MacLauchlan. MacLauchlan had led the provincial government that was defeated in the April 2019 general election. 

By September of last year, Mitchell was considering a bid for the permanent leadership of the party, and announced he was relinquishing the interim post. 

"The past few months have been a tremendous experience, and I have genuinely valued the support and encouragement of Islanders," he said at that time.

"As a result of that positive feedback, I am stepping down to give consideration to permanent leadership." 

Elections P.E.I. says that once an MLA's official resignation is submitted to the Legislative Assembly, a byelection must be held within six months.

Premier Dennis King's Progressive Conservatives have 13 seats in the 27-seat legislature for a minority government, compared to eight for the Official Opposition Green Party. The Liberals have six seats including Mitchell's. 

The Tories came third in Charlottetown-Winsloe in April 2019. If they were to win a byelection there, King would be presiding over a majority government. 

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