Stephen Harper to remain an MP as Tories move to select interim leader
Conservatives issue statement indicating Harper will step down as leader
Outgoing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will continue to sit as an MP and the party is moving to select an interim leader and start the process of electing a new leader "immediately," according to a statement issued by the Tories on Tuesday.
Harper suffered a big defeat in Monday's federal election, as the Conservatives lost 60 seats across the country, going from the governing party to the Official Opposition after the longest and most expensive campaign in Canadian history.
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While Harper did not say during his concession speech that he would step down, after the Tories conceded defeat, the party issued a brief statement indicating the longtime leader would be leaving his post.
Conservative Party president John Walsh released a longer statement this morning saying that Harper would remain an MP in his riding of Calgary Heritage and that the party would elect an interim leader "as soon as possible."
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He said the Tories will also form a committee dedicated to laying out the rules and "dispute resolution mechanism" for electing a new leader, and that the party will "initiate a transparent process to review the 2015 campaign."
Harper was seeking a fourth consecutive term as prime minister since the Conservatives formed government in 2006. In his speech to supporters following the defeat, he said he took full responsibility for the election loss and that he would assist Liberal Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau with the transition of power.
The Tories had held a majority since 2011, when they took 166 seats in the 41st federal election.
Harper promised that the Conservatives would be a strong Official Opposition, offering "Canada a strong and clear alternative" to the Liberals, who secured a solid majority with 184 seats. The Liberals had only 36 seats when the election was called on Aug. 2.
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