Alberta’s Opposition NDP Picks Ex-Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi as Leader

(Bloomberg) -- Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will lead the opposition New Democratic Party in Canada’s oil-rich province Alberta, the party announced in a live-streamed meeting on Saturday.

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Nenshi’s task now is to recapture the popularity the NDP achieved under Rachel Notley, who won provincial power in 2015 and ended a 44-year run of victories for the Progressive Conservatives.

In his victory speech, three-time Calgary mayor Nenshi criticized the leadership of United Conservative Party Premier Danielle Smith, suggesting the province suffered from political interference in civil services such as health care, teaching and regulation.

The Progressive Conservatives merged with the right-of-center Wildrose Party to form the United Conservative Party, which then ousted the NDP in the 2019 election, and won again in May 2023. Notley announced she would step down in January 2024, triggering the NDP leadership race.

Alberta’s next provincial election is currently scheduled for October 2027.

Nenshi won with 62,746 votes, said Amanda Freistadt, chief returning officer for the leadership race. That was 86% of the total votes, a record turnout, she said, meaning Nenshi beat rivals Kathleen Ganley, Sarah Hoffman and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse by a large margin.

Nenshi’s parents immigrated to Canada from Tanzania, and he was the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city.

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