Is Danielle Smith already Premier of Alberta?

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Danielle Smith was elected leader of the United Conservative Party and will be the next Premier of Alberta.

Danielle Smith has just won the leadership of the United Conservative Party of Alberta (UCP) . Is she automatically prime minister? Not quite.

In our parliamentary system, citizens elect MPs, but not prime ministers.

The election of Danielle Smith as leader of the PCU allows her to also become prime minister.

Current Premier Jason Kenney will have to contact the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta to communicate his intention to resign and who will be his successor. This meeting usually takes place shortly after the selection of a new leader or after a general election.

At this time, Danielle Smith to be identified as Premier-designate, a title #x27; is however not an official one.

She will use the transition period between the time she is appointed and the time she is sworn in to recruit her collaborators, get to know the province's issues and choose her cabinet.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jason Kenney will remain in office with all the powers of his office. He will step down the same time Danielle Smith is sworn in, ensuring continuity of government.

This transition could be quite rapid based on historical precedents in Alberta.

For example, Alison Redford was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta on the evening of Saturday, October 1, 2011, and was sworn in as premier on Friday, October 7. She had also chosen her practice the following Wednesday.

Danielle Smith was elected leader of the PCU, but is not an MP. A reality that will not prevent her from being able to become prime minister.

The position is within the executive and not the legislative branch, even if in use prime ministers and members of the cabinet are also legislators.

It will not be the first time that a prime minister or minister has held this kind of position without being an MP.

In British Columbia, Premier Christy Clark's Liberals won a majority of seats in the May 2013 election, but she herself lost her seat in her riding. She continued to govern and was eventually elected in a by-election.

In 2014, Jim Prentice won the Progressive Conservative Party leadership race, but was not an MP. Sworn in as premier on September 15, he governed for more than a month before winning a seat in the riding of Calgary-Foothills on October 27.

In conference of press on Monday, Danielle Smith expressed her intention to run in a by-election fairly quickly. She had previously mentioned her desire to be a candidate in the constituency of Livingstone-Macleod, where she resides.

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