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Kousoulis first candidate to join Nova Scotia Liberal leadership race

Click to play video 'Labi Kousoulis steps down as minister, announces candidacy for premier’s spot' Labi Kousoulis steps down as minister, announces candidacy for premier’s spot
WATCH: Labi Kousoulis has stepped down as Nova Scotia’s minister for labour and advanced education to become the first declared candidate in the race to replace Premier Stephen McNeil. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, few people have stepped forward to vie for the top job to date.

The contest to replace Stephen McNeil as leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal party and premier officially has a candidate.

Labi Kousoulis, former minister of labour and advanced education, launched his candidacy Wednesday in Halifax. He submitted his resignation from cabinet in the morning, according to a campaign spokesman.

Kousoulis, who represents the riding of Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, is the first candidate to vie for his party’s top job.

Click to play video 'N.S. appoints team to lead justice reform, drive anti-racist policy change in Nova Scotia' N.S. appoints team to lead justice reform, drive anti-racist policy change in Nova Scotia
N.S. appoints team to lead justice reform, drive anti-racist policy change in Nova Scotia

Read more: As N.S. premier apologizes for systemic racism, Black Nova Scotians voice concern over lack of consultation

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He was first elected in 2013 and previously served in cabinet as minister of internal services.

In a Wednesday news release, Kousoulis said former federal Liberal MP Mary Clancy and Halifax businessman Travis McDonough have joined his campaign as advisers.

A new leader will be chosen Feb. 6 to replace McNeil, who announced his resignation suddenly in August.

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stepping down' Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stepping down
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stepping down

Candidates have until Oct. 9 to enter the race.

Kousoulis said the Liberal government has balanced budgets over the last seven years while building a stronger economy and continuing to fund key areas in health care, education and infrastructure.

“As leader, I will work to ensure we as Nova Scotians overcome this (COVID-19) pandemic and move forward together to bring our economy back on track, create more new jobs, and make new strategic investments in our essential programs and services,” said Kousoulis.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2020.