Former NS premier Darrell Dexter resigns as NDP leader

Premier Darrell Dexter addresses supporters after being defeated in the Nova Scotia provincial election in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Nova Scotia's New Democrats face a long road to recovery and the possibility of an internal battle over their future direction following a bruising electoral defeat, party stalwarts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – Former Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter announced Saturday that he would be stepping down as leader of the province’s New Democratic Party.

Dexter’s letter of resignation, which was submitted at the party’s provincial executive meeting in Halifax, came a month after the NDP was knocked from power to third-party status in the latest provincial elections.

“It has been a privilege to serve New Democrats across Nova Scotia over the past 12 years,” Dexter said in a release, thanking the party’s membership for their support during his time as leader.

“I also want to thank the Nova Scotians who believed in the NDP and gave us the opportunity to govern for the first time in the province’s history. It has been an experience that I will carry with me always.”

The party’s president praised Dexter on Saturday.

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“Darrell was our fearless leader. Throughout his entire political career he worked to make life better for Nova Scotians,” said David Wallbridge.

NDP politician Maureen MacDonald will be nominated as acting leader at an NDP provincial council meeting on Nov. 23 in Halifax.

The NDP won seven of the legislature’s 51 seats in last month’s elections.

Dexter also lost his own Halifax-area seat of Cole Harbour-Portland Valley.

He won the party leadership in 2001.

He went on to lead the Nova Scotia NDP to victory in June 2009 and served as premier for four years.

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