BRITISH COLUMBIA

Moe Sihota To Quit As B.C. NDP President

09/21/2013 03:56 EDT | Updated 11/21/2013 05:12 EST
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VANCOUVER - The president of B.C.'s New Democrats has announced he'll be stepping down as party president when his term ends in November.

Moe Sihota's announcement came three days after NDP Leader Adrian Dix said he will resign by the middle of next year, when the party elects a new leader.

"I believe the party needs a president who can be there for the full electoral cycle and I just finished doing a full electoral cycle the last four years and there's a six-year term so I can't do the next electoral cycle," Sihota said Saturday.

The party will elect a new president at its convention in Vancouver on Nov. 15.

Sihota said that will give a new generation of New Democrats the opportunity to step forward.

"I think just in the normal evolution of a political party there just comes a time when you need to refresh, re-energize and refocus, and this allows it to happen."

The New Democrats lost the May election despite polls and pundits predicting the party would form the next government.

Sihota said the NDP's new leader must work on gaining the public's confidence in some key areas.

"Our biggest weakness is that we don't enjoy the highest level of confidence in the public around issues concerning economic fiscal management. Whoever assumes the leadership of the party really has to attend to that deficiency because I think in our brand, if I can put it that way, that's been the weak point and the Liberals have exploited it for years."

The New Democrats will also have to work hard to court not just the business elite but entrepreneurs in rural communities, said the former provincial cabinet minister who was first elected to the party's presidency in 2009.

New Democrats will also elect a new provincial secretary at their convention in November.

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