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Raj Sherman won’t seek re-election; Doug Griffiths resigns

WATCH ABOVE: As Tom Vernon reports, four MLAs announced their retirements on Monday, including a party leader.

EDMONTON – Monday was a busy day in Alberta politics, with several announcements, including that PC MLA Doug Griffiths has resigned and Liberal leader Raj Sherman won’t run again.

Sherman said Monday he’s stepping down as leader of Alberta’s liberal party effective immediately. He added he won’t be seeking re-election.

“It’s time for me to move on to other challenges and to turn the page on the next chapter of my life,” said Sherman, adding that he’ll stay on as MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark until the next election, “whenever that may be.”

The Liberal party will meet this weekend to choose an interim leader and build the leadership contest.

“I believe that, like me, a significant number of Albertans embrace Liberal values.”

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The two-term Edmonton MLA and emergency room doctor says he will stay on in his seat until the next election – which could come as early as this spring – but won’t run again.

READ MORE: Derek Fildebrandt seeks Wildrose nomination in Strathmore-Brooks 

Under Sherman, the Liberals won five seats in the 2012 election – down from nine in the previous vote – and lost official opposition status to the Wildrose party. The party has also struggled with fundraising, and two of its five MLAs will soon be quitting to run federally.

Sherman, who is 48, was voted in as Liberal leader in 2011 after crossing the floor from the Progressive Conservatives. His departure means that none of the four party leaders elected in Alberta in 2012 remains in that job today.

“Life at the legislature will certainly miss the sparkle of his smile and his innate ability to build friendships across partisan lines,” said Wildrose interim leader Heather Forsyth.

Griffiths – who has worked in Alberta politics for nearly 15 years – resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly for Battle River-Wainwright as of 10:30 a.m. Monday.

He formerly served as minister of Municipal Affairs and minister of Service Alberta.

Griffiths suffered a leg fracture in the summer of 2014 and the healing process had him recovering at home for several months.

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The 42 year old said he’s looking forward to something new, fresh faces in caucus, and spending more time with his family.

“Doug has served Albertans and his constituents well,” said Premier Jim Prentice.  “He was steadfast during the 2013 floods and an essential part of the early rebuilding efforts. Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for rural development, and a tireless proponent for community involvement.

“Doug has used his energy and creativity to help make Alberta a better place, and we thank him for his service.”

Fellow PC MLA Mary Anne Jablonski has also announced she will not run in the next election, that could come as early as this spring.

Jablonski is a five-term legislature member for Red Deer-North.

READ MORE: Former Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin seeking re-election as PC

Former Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin has announced he will run for the PC nomination in the constituency of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.

Another PC MLA announced she had decided to step down. Donna Kennedy-Glans will not seek re-election. She became the third Alberta MLA to announce on Monday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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