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Andrew Wilkinson formally resigns as BC Liberal leader months after election defeat

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson listens while being introduced during a campaign stop at Nicomekl Farms, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

It’s now official.

After first announcing it on social media, then being replaced as Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Wilkinson has now officially resigned as the leader of the BC Liberal party.

Wilkinson, who led the BC Liberals to 28 seats in the 2020 provincial election, will continue to serve as an MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena. The leadership resignation triggers a one year window the party now has to fill the job full time.

Click to play video 'BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson stepping down' BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson stepping down
BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson stepping down – Nov 21, 2020

“This sets in motion the constitutionally-mandated process of selecting a new leader,” a statement from BC Liberal Party acting president Don Silversides reads.

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“The party executive will set a date not later than February 16, 2022 for holding a Leadership Vote.”

MLA Shirley Bond is currently serving as the party’s interim leader. Wilkinson originally wanted to stay on as leader until the leadership contest, but was convinced to step aside earlier.

Read more: Andrew Wilkinson still has not resigned as leader of the BC Liberals

The party is still determining timelines, establishing fees and deposits needed for the leadership race. The party’s leadership committee is expected to announce the details soon.

Former finance minister Kevin Falcon is seen as the front-runner in the race. He has not yet declared whether he will enter the contest.

Current MLAs Ellis Ross, Michael Lee, Renee Merrifield and Tom Shypitka are exploring their options concerning leadership. Aaron Gunn and Gavin Dew are also potential leadership candidates.