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Rana Bokhari steps down as leader of Liberal Party

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Rana Bokhari announced Saturday that she will be stepping down as leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.</p>

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Rana Bokhari announced Saturday that she will be stepping down as leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/5/2016 (990 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari announced suddenly Saturday night she will not lead the Liberals into the next election.

Bokhari had defiantly declared after the Liberals won three seats in the April 19 provincial election she wasn’t going anywhere, nor had she been asked to step down.

The Liberals tripled their total from the 2011 election — and almost doubling their popular vote.

But she ran a distant third in the Fort Rouge riding she chose to contest, and the Grits had started the campaign solidly on par with the NDP in the polls.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/5/2016 (990 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari announced suddenly Saturday night she will not lead the Liberals into the next election.

Bokhari had defiantly declared after the Liberals won three seats in the April 19 provincial election she wasn’t going anywhere, nor had she been asked to step down.

The Liberals tripled their total from the 2011 election — and almost doubling their popular vote.

But she ran a distant third in the Fort Rouge riding she chose to contest, and the Grits had started the campaign solidly on par with the NDP in the polls.

Those numbers slipped away through a campaign rife with blunders and an apparent lack of preparedness.

The Liberals lost five candidates — three because of poor paperwork, one who missed the filing deadline, and another was disqualified for having worked as an enumerator before seeking nomination. Bokhari fired a sixth when details of domestic assault surfaced, and a seventh candidate, who filed at the last minute, embarrassed the party by proposing hospitals be closed.

Last week, Bokhari told the Free Press she intended to run if an opening came up in a byelection. On Saturday evening, she issued a release announcing her decision to step down.

"Three years ago, I was elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party," she said. "I became leader in the shadow of the party’s worst election result in a generation and in the midst of challenging internal conflict. At the time, I told Manitoba Liberals that with ‘patience, commitment and dedication,’ it would be ‘growing season for our party.’"

Bokhari credited her team’s run in the recent election, boasting it was the "best result in over 20 years, both in terms of seat count and popular vote."

"It is on that positive note that I have informed the Manitoba Liberal Party executive that I will not be leading the MLP into the next election," she said. "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."

Bokhari will remain on as interim leader until a new leader is chosen, she said. The transition to a new leadership could take up to a few months.

"Once the new leader is in place, I will return to practising law and pursue other endeavours," said Bokhari. "Finally, I will continue to work for the betterment of Manitoba at every opportunity, as my passion and energy to serve Manitobans continues to be unwavering."

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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