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Interim leader

From Academic Kids

An interim leader, in Canadian politics, is a party leader who is appointed by the party's legislative caucus or the party's executive to temporarily act as leader when there is a gap between the resignation or death of a party leader and the election of his or her formal successor.

Usually a party leader retains the leadership until his or her successor takes over; however, in some situations this is not possible. This may be because the leader passes away (eg. Wilfrid Laurier), or because a leader is forced to resign due to controversy or scandal before a convention can be organized (eg. Glen Clark), because a leader is forced to recontest his or her leadership (eg. Joe Clark, Stockwell Day), or because a new party is incorporated from existing party caucuses (eg. Canadian Alliance, Conservative Party of Canada). Sometimes an outgoing leader decides to resign immediately in order to ensure party unity, because he or she has accepted an appointment or been elected to another position (such as in the case of Jean Charest who resigned as Progressive Conservative leader to contest the leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec), or they have lost their seat in a general election and are unable or unwilling to attempt to contest a by-election. When a sudden vacancy occurs an interim leader is appointed by the party's caucus or the party executive.

By convention, an interim leader should be a caucus member who is not standing as a candidate in the official leadership race, so that he or she does not gain unfair advantage in the leadership contest. However, an interim leader may occasionally stand in the subsequent leadership race. This is particularly the case where it is recognized in advance they will likely be acclaimed or very widely supported for the full party leadership. Raj Pannu became interim leader, then was acclaimed leader, of the Alberta New Democrats following the resignation of Pam Barrett in 2000.

An interim leader has all the rights and responsibilities of an elected party leader, except that he or she does not have the discretion to call a leadership race, as one must be held within a certain time period after an interim leader is appointed.

An interim leader may, if necessary, lead the party into an election, but by Canadian custom, an election is usually not called while one of the parties is in a leadership race.

Interim leaders in Canadian politics have included:

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