Alberta's next premier to be announced tonight
The seven candidates for leader of the United Conservative Party are, from left to right: Brian Jean, Travis Toews, Rebecca Schulz, Leela Aheer, Todd Loewen, Danielle Smith and Rajan Sawhney.
The results of the United Conservative Party (UCP) members' vote will be released beginning at 7:30 p.m. MT in Calgary. One of the seven candidates in this race will lead the majority party and, therefore, the government of Alberta.
The party postponed the unveiling of the results by 90 minutes. According to the explanations given, approximately 250 volunteers count the more than 80,000 ballot papers received by mail. Other volunteers have been called in to help speed up the process.
We believe accuracy is more important than rushing things, the PCU said in a statement.< /p>
The party's 124,000 members could also vote in person Thursday morning at five locations across the province: Slave Lake, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary and Taber. In its statement, the PCU said the flood of voters was constant, but manageable.
Follow the announcement of the results of the UCP leadership race live with our reporters on the ground on ICI Alberta, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The party is hosting an evening of announcement of the results at the BMO center in Calgary. However, it could take several rounds to declare who will be elected leader of the party.
The PCU uses a preferential ballot, which means that voters were able to rank the candidates according to their order of preference.
In the first round, if no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes as first choice, the candidate who received the fewest votes will be eliminated. His votes will be redistributed among the other candidates who were registered as second choice on these ballots. The process of elimination and redistribution continues until a winner obtains a majority of the votes cast.
This evening will end more than four months of campaigning to replace Jason Kenney. Former Finance Minister Travis Toews was the first to enter the leadership race at the end of May.
Two other former ministers, Rajan Sawhney and Rebecca Schulz, have also left government to enter the race. The party also confirmed the candidacies of Chestermere-Strathmore MP Leela Aheer, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MP Brian Jean, former Wildrose party leader Danielle Smith and Independent MP Todd Loewen.
Polls and political commentators quickly placed Danielle Smith in the lead. His Alberta sovereignty bill and the accompanying criticism dominated the campaign months.
The evening will not mark the end of the political career, however. by Jason Kenney. The former MP has announced his intention to stay on, at least temporarily, as MPP for Calgary-Lougheed.
The longtime politician has announced his resignation in mid-May, in the wake of a vote of confidence which he had nevertheless won. Jason Kenney explained at the time that he wanted his departure to bring unity back to the Alberta Conservatives.