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New Brunswick Liberal leadership uncertain as Brian Gallant mulls future

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WATCH: While Liberal leader Brian Gallant mulls his options, leadership hopefuls are already waiting in the wings and the clock is ticking for Gallant to decide whether to stay on as opposition leader. Morganne Campbell has more in this report – Nov 12, 2018

New Brunswick’s political future is under a cloud of uncertainty as questions remain over the future of Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.

“Sharks smell blood and he’s no longer the premier and as a result there’s going to be questions of his leadership and leadership hopefuls will start circling,” Don Wright, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick, said.

READ MORE: New Brunswick’s Liberal government falls after losing confidence vote on throne speech

One of those mulling a potential leadership bid is Susan Holt. She ran as a candidate in the riding of Fredericton South but lost to Green Leader David Coon.

“I’m really flattered that people see me as a potential leader and have been encouraging me to do that. I’m undecided about what I’m going to do next,” Holt said.

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Longtime supporter and Liberal MLA Lisa Harris said last Friday that she believes Gallant should stay on as leader.

“He’s done a lot of great things. When you look at free tuition and our daycare, opportunities for New Brunswickers, there’s so many great things that we were very proud of,” Harris said.

While Gallant may have been unable to form a government he did win the popular vote, which Wright says could bode quite well for him.

There’s nothing saying Gallant can’t stay on as party leader but the loss could raise questions about his leadership capabilities.

“It’s going to come down to caucus support and party support and whether he can weather this storm but there’s no obligation on him to resign, there’s no imperative on him to resign,” Wright said.

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In a statement, Gallant says he and his wife are reflecting on how they will contribute to the province moving forward.

“We will decide and let the caucus, the Liberal party and the people of New Brunswick know before the new administration’s speech from the throne is introduced.”