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Former premier Brian Gallant stepping down as leader earlier than planned

Gallant announces he’s stepping down as leader earlier than planned
WATCH: Brian Gallant plans to step down as Liberal leader at the party's next caucus meeting and will not run in the next election. Callum Smith reports.

Former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant is stepping down as leader of the provincial Liberals earlier than planned, saying the party needs to move on and choose a new leader.

Gallant said Friday he will resign at the party’s next caucus meeting, expected in mid-February.

WATCH: Brian Gallant plans to step down as Liberal leader at the party’s next caucus meeting and will not run in the next election.

Brian Gallant to resign as leader of NB Liberal Party
Brian Gallant to resign as leader of NB Liberal Party

While he plans to stay on as the MLA for Shediac Bay-Dieppe for the immediate future, Gallant said he won’t run in the next provincial election.

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“During the holidays, many family members, friends, Liberals, supporters, and New Brunswickers have encouraged me to run again in the next election,” he told a news conference in Moncton. “This is flattering but it is also problematic as the Liberal party needs to move on and select a new leader.”

WATCH: Former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant reflects on 2018

Former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant reflects on 2018
Former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant reflects on 2018

Gallant added: “It has become clear that while I still occupy the role of leader, many will be hopeful – and some will be fearful – that I will run again in the next election.”

The Liberal leader had announced his intention to resign after his government failed to form a minority government in the weeks following the Sept. 24 provincial election, but not until the party had chosen a successor.

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He was elected Liberal leader in 2012 and won a majority government in 2014.