Despite endorsing the runner-up, a local member of the Saskatchewan NDP executive is welcoming the election of Saskatoon Meewasin MLA Ryan Meili as the party's new leader.
Rob Feist said members are excited to have a permanent leader for the NDP, and he feels that there is new enthusiasm within the party with Meili as its leader.
“There is a lot of excitement within the party ranks after the weekend,” Feist said. “I think, from the grassroots perspective, the people wanted something different than what we have seen in recent years.”
Meili garnered 55 per cent of the votes Saturday as the NDP held their convention to choose a new leader. This was the third time Meili ran for the top position after finishing second to Dwain Lingenfelter in 2009 and again to Cam Broten in 2013. Former interim leader Trent Wotherspoon was the only other declared candidate for the leadership race. While Feist said Wotherspoon provided effective leadership following the resignation of Cam Broten in 2016, he felt the party wanted a change in direction.
“Ryan comes from the more activist wing of the NDP,” he said. “I think a lot of people standing behind him see him as bringing something new to the party and making some changes as well.”
As leader of the opposition, Meili takes over a party which has 12 of the 61 seats in the provincial legislature and recently finished well behind the governing Saskatchewan Party in three byelections in Melfort, Kindersley and Swift Current.
Feist said he is optimistic that, with a provincial election not expected until 2020, the NDP and Meili will have ample time to build a solid platform and make inroads with the people of Saskatchewan.
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