Sask. Party to lay down leadership race rules within 30 days

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall announced his retirement on Thursday. Now, the Saskatchewan Party needs to elect a new leader.

Premier Brad Wall is leaving politics, now the party needs to find his replacement

Premier Brad Wall, who announced his retirement from politics on Aug. 10, 2017, is not picking favourites but says he's expecting a competitive race for Saskatchewan Party leader. (CBC)

Premier Brad Wall is retiring from politics, and that means the party he headed for more than a decade needs to elect a new leader. 

It's been one day since the announcement, but the Sask. Party says work has already begun. 

"Within the next 30 days the provincial council will convene and will set a date for a leadership convention," Sask. Party executive director Patrick Bundrock said.

The provincial council is made up of the Sask. Party leader, the party's president, youth representatives and a member from each constituency association, he said. 

The date for that meeting wasn't set as of Friday. However, Bundrock said they want to get things rolling as soon as possible. 

Rules, like filing fees, membership deadlines and expenses, need to be set within the month. 

"We're going to try and meet before the 30 days of course, now that the premier has made his decision," Bundrock said.

He added they'll expect to know the details within the next two weeks. 

Once they are established, the rules of the race will be posted on the Sask. Party website. 

The provincial council and a leadership election organizing committee are responsible for enforcing the rules. Members of the leadership election organizing committee are chosen by the provincial council.

Is there a 'clear front runner'?

"I don't think there's a clear front runner. We could well see a fair number of people try to throw their hat in the ring," said Tom McIntosh, head of the politics and international studies department at the University of Regina, on Thursday. 

"I think what we're going to see is a number of people trying to jockey for that position."

The party will be challenged because "it has been built and run itself in the image of Brad Wall," he said.

"It is Brad Wall's party, and it is his face that everyone associates with the party."

Furthermore, McIntosh said whoever takes on the role as leader has to deal with Wall's legacy, for better or for worse.

Premier Brad Wall, left, pictured at the provincial legislature before the speech from the throne was delivered in October 2010. He is retiring from politics after 14 years as the leader of the Saskatchewan Party. (Troy Fleece/The Canadian Press)

The premier lays claim to three majority governments in a row, he said, as well as "incredible levels of popularity and support from the public, often touted as the most popular premier in the country," McIntosh added.

"But it also comes in the aftermath of an incredibly unpopular budget and a series of cuts that have not gone over well with the public."

The new leader will be chosen by its members, in a one-member, one-vote election. Premier Brad Wall can cast a vote as he is a Sask. Party member. 

The only member who doesn't vote for the new leader is the party president, James Thornsteinson. He would only vote if there were a tie.

with files from Adam Hunter