Jason Kenney will remain the leader of the United Conservative Party until his successor is chosen.
A statement issued from UCP caucus chair Nathan Neudorf Thursday said a daylong meeting in Calgary had “vigorous discussion and debate” about the future of the party and the need to stay united.
“In that spirit, we have affirmed Premier Jason Kenney’s continued leadership of our caucus and government until such time as a new leader is chosen, the timing of which will be determined by the United Conservative Party,” Neudorf said.
Past premiers Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach both stayed on as leader until their replacement was selected, but Alison Redford left the position immediately after she tendered her resignation.
Earlier on Thursday, Kenney sent a letter of his “intention to resign as leader” to the UCP secretary, releasing it on social media.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said the caucus meeting took hours more than it could have and speculated there were divisions over whether to bring in an interim leader or allow Kenney to remain.
“And we don’t know when that replacement is,” he told Global News. “Is it September? Is it October? Is it January? And what happens in the meantime? Jason Kenney remains as premier.”
He also said things will be “really, really complicated” if a sitting cabinet minister runs for party leadership while trying to distance themselves from Kenney.
“They are going to have to defend the Kenney record because they sat around the cabinet table,” the political scientist said, pointing to frequent attacks on Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson’s support of her predecessor’s policies.