06/19/2011 03:32 EDT | Updated 08/19/2011 05:12 EDT

NDP Postpone Decision On Controversial 'Socialist' Wording

CBC -- New Democrats wrapped up their first convention as the Official Opposition on Sunday by putting off a vote on a potentially divisive resolution to drop the word "socialist" from the preamble to the party's constitution.

The proposal, considered the most contentious issue at this weekend's NDP policy gathering in Vancouver, was aimed at broadening the NDP's appeal.

But the showdown was averted after delegates unanimously approved a motion by NDP president Brian Topp to refer the resolution to the party's executive for more discussion.

Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin led calls for the language change, arguing it was time for the party to broaden its appeal beyond traditional labels.

In earlier voting Sunday, party delegates also rejected a resolution calling on the party to reject all future mergers with the Liberals — which leaves the door open to potential future talks between the two opposition parties.

Longtime NDP MP Peter Stoffer led the opposition to the anti-merger resolution, arguing it would be a strategic mistake to limit the party's options as it seeks to increase support following its record showing in May's federal election.

The New Democrats stormed past the Liberals to take the second-most amount of seats and form the Official Opposition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative majority government.