Kenney garnered 51.4 per cent support in a review of his leadership, which is just enough for him to keep his job under party rules.
But on Wednesday night he said that result isn’t good enough for him to stay on as leader and that many members have asked for the opportunity to clear the air.
Two former leaders of the Wildrose Party, which merged with the Progressive Conservatives to form the UCP in 2017, have signalled they intend run for the leadership.
Brian Jean, who lost to Kenney in the inaugural UCP leadership race and has been an outspoken Kenney critic, thanked the premier for his “decent and honourable concession.”
Danielle Smith says the results show the UCP is hungry for a leader who will fight for Alberta’s interests.
Kenney’s resignation reverberated in Ottawa, where he previously served as a cabinet minister in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
Heading into a cabinet meeting Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Kenney for his years of public service.
“I wish him the very best in whatever next steps he takes on.”