Liberal leadership vote set for April 2013
Leadership vote announcement comes after Bob Rae says he will not run
The Liberal Party leadership vote will be held in April 2013, the party president says, with the precise date to be confirmed over the summer.
Mike Crawley's announcement, which was made on the Liberal Party blog, comes after interim leader Bob Rae said that he would not seek the position of permanent leader.
"We are now approaching a turning point for the Liberal Party of Canada," Crawley said in his blog post.
"Soon, we will reach the end of our initial period of rebuilding following last year's election result, and be entering a leadership contest we hope will inspire and engage tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of Canadians."
Rae became interim leader after Michael Ignatieff resigned following the May 2011 federal election that relegated the Liberals to third-party status in the House of Commons.
On Wednesday, Rae said he'd decided the best way for him to serve his party was by "not running for the permanent leadership and by simply sticking to the task which I agreed to do at the beginning of my mandate."
Montreal MP Justin Trudeau has repeatedly ruled out a leadership bid this time, citing the desire to spend time with his young children. But over the past month, his resolve has noticeably wavered as the pressure has mounted on him to change his mind.
Trudeau said Wednesday the pressure has been "enormous." He said Rae's decision to opt out means the party "will have less of a leadership race," but insisted it will have no bearing on whether he finally decides to take the plunge.
"My own [initial] decision … to not go was independent of what Bob decided to do," Trudeau said.
Liberal MPs Denis Coderre, Marc Garneau and Dominic LeBlanc all said Wednesday they have not ruled out entering the race to become the next party leader.
With files from Meagan Fitzpatrick and The Canadian Press