In just 10 days a new leader of the Sask Party and premier will be elected by party members.
In August, Brad Wall announced his resignation as Saskatchewan's premier and leader of the Sask Party. The announcement caused a rare situation where party members will elect a new leader and premier on Jan. 27. The elected official will hold the position until the next general election.
According to Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Bundrock, 300 of the 27,000 Sask Party members eligible to vote are in the Battlefords. He added 13,000 of total members recently registered.
Joe Garcea, a political science professor at the University of Saskatchewan said there is no way to tell if the increase is comprised of Sask Party supporters or people who joined just to be a part of the election.
“I think it is fair to say some have taken out a membership to support a particular candidate, largely because they want someone else in leadership and a change in policy,” Garcea said. “They have never become members without this situation and may never vote for the Sask Party again.”
Only the 27,000 Sask Party members are allowed to vote in the election. It means just over two per cent of the province’s population will essentially choose the premier for the next two years. That statistic doesn’t alarm Garcea.
“I don’t think people have devoted attention to these types of situations,” Garcea said. “Part of the reason is they don’t happen very often. It isn’t a common occurrence for a leader to resign half way through their term. Generally they tend to resign near the end of the mandate.”
Garcea said this is the same process as when a leader resigns at any other point in the term and since the Sask Party won the last general election and is in power, this is standard protocol.
It is too late for anyone wishing to become a member of the Sask Party and participate in this election as the cut off was Dec. 5. All eligible party members should have already received a letter containing a mail in ballot by now.
The leadership convention will be held at Prairie Land Park in Saskatoon, where in-person ballots will be counted and a winner announced.
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