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From candidate to premier-designate: What happens after the UCP picks a new leader today?


Alberta's United Conservative Party is announcing a new leader Thursday night to replace Jason Kenney.

Seven people are running to lead the UCP: Danielle Smith, Travis Toews, Brian Jean, Rebecca Schulz, Rajan Sawhney, Leela Aheer and Todd Loewen.

The winner will become premier-designate until they are sworn in as premier by the lieutenant-governor at Government House in Edmonton.

The premier-designate will create a transition team and appoint key personnel, such as a chief of staff and press secretary, MacEwan University political science associate professor Chaldeans Mensah told CTV News.

Mensah told CTV News the premier-designate would likely be sworn in in about a week, in a ceremony where they would also announce their cabinet.


Beyond the usual process, things will look different if Smith wins — since she is the only candidate who does not hold a seat in the legislature.

Smith would have to call a byelection to be able to sit in the house.

"I'm sure there will be a number of MLAs that are not gonna run…so she'll get an opportunity to put her name forward," Mensah said.

"She cannot be in the house until she gets a win in a byelection, so that has to be priority number 1. She can call that very quickly, in about a month or so after she's sworn in."

Mensah believes it would be "safer" for Smith to run in southern Alberta to make sure she gets her seat.

"It would be a contest for her to run a Calgary byelection," he said. "I'm very confident that if she wins, there will be a couple of retirements announced very quickly."

If Smith becomes leader, Mensah believes she could decide to prorogue the upcoming parliamentary session and call a new one, which would include a throne speech where she would outline her priorities.

A meeting with caucus would also be important, particularly for Smith, Mensah added.

"For Smith, the meeting with caucus is significant, as she has to address problems of unity, explain her plans regarding the Sovereignty Act and other policy ideas, and get buy-in from the caucus in terms of her direction for the party."

The new leader is expected to be announced after 7:30 p.m. Top Stories

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