Nine MLAs, including leader Danielle Smith, crossed the floor to join the governing PCs last December. It left the party with only five members.
Interim leader Heather Forsyth assumed the reins but said she would not seek the leadership on a permanent basis.
Forsyth says she had planned to retire from politics this month because of her husband's cancer but he encouraged her to stay on because of the floor crossings.
“Our party is strong, united and ready to give Albertans a real, principled, grassroots and fiscally conservative option at the ballot box,” said party president Jeff Callaway in a statement Friday.
“While the governing PCs talk about raising taxes, hurting economic growth and doing anything to stay in power, our party will be engaging Albertans across this province from door-to-door talking about how to make Alberta an even better place to live.”
Anders does not qualify
To be eligible the candidate for leader must be a Wildrose member in good standing for six months prior to the date of the vote.
Callaway says controversial MP Rob Anders, who had previously expressed interest in running for the Wildrose leadership, would not be a candidate.
"He was not a member of the party as of Jan. 10 anyway, and we have this rule that says you have to be a member of the party for six months," said Callaway.
"So we synced up our leadership rules with the candidate selection rules and Rob Anders would not qualify."
Leadership candidates will be required to submit a $20,000 non-refundable entry fee. Forsyth says there is an incredible energy among party members and Albertans.
"I've been enormously moved by the response from Albertans ready to engage in our leadership process and move our party forward," she said.
Nomination forms will be available starting Jan. 26. The announcement will be made at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Calgary on June 6.Suggest a correction