Manitoba Liberals say leader Rana Bokhari was not forced out
Published Monday, May 9, 2016 4:16PM CST
Last Updated Monday, May 9, 2016 5:39PM CST
Since the election Rana Bokhari has been adamant she’s not going anywhere. But late Saturday she made a sudden, quiet announcement to step down as leader, issuing this statement.
"Having kept my promise to build the infrastructure the Liberal party needed to compete, I believe that the time is right to transition the party to a new leader who will be able to most benefit from a strong, united party and three fantastic MLAs," said Bokhari.
Bokhari declined CTV’s request for an interview when we reached her by phone, Monday.
"I just don't want to do this to you but I put out a statement and that should have been the end of it," said Bokhari.
New Liberal caucus chair and MLA Cindy Lamoureux says Bokhari was not pushed out.
"Absolutely not it was her decision and like I said we're going to be supporting her," said Lamoureux.
Bokhari's exit comes after a disappointing campaign where she failed to win a seat. CTV has been told Bokhari was eyeing a later date to resign, but was forced to issue the statement Saturday, after word of her impending departure leaked within the party.
Bokhari will stay on as interim leader until a permanent replacement is picked. All three members of the Liberal caucus say they have no interest in the top job.
"It's not in my plans at this juncture and I can't see that at this point in the future," said former leader Jon Gerrard.
"There's no long term plan, I'm just happy to be here," said Lamoureux.
Rookie Liberal MLA Judy Klassen also said she has no interest in being leader.
But pundits and some within the party say restauranteur Noel Bernier, who ran unsuccessfully in St. Johns, could be in line.
No date has been set for a leadership convention.