09/17/2011 10:00 EDT | Updated 11/17/2011 05:12 EST

Alberta Conservatives Vote For New Leader And Premier

Watch live streaming video from asquaredtv at livestream.com

UPDATE 5: Posted new story updated with Gary Mar's lead.

UPDATE 4: Here's the top four with 10 polls reporting: Gary Mar 44.4%, Alison Redford 18%, Doug Horner 14.3%, Ted Morton 12.6%.

UPDATE 3: First solid totals, Gary Mar has 1282 votes, Ted Morton has 355 and Alison Redford has 384

UPDATE 2: In early results from polls, Gary Mar was the front runner, leading in the first three polls displayed on the screen.

UPDATE 1: Voting has finished. First results expected at around 8 p.m. local time. Video stream is now live.

CALGARY - Members of Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party are going to the polls to pick a new leader, who will also become the premier of the province.

Six candidates are vying to replace Premier Ed Stelmach.

Three of them were cabinet ministers under Stelmach but quit their jobs, as per party rules, to run.

Doug Horner was deputy premier; Alison Redford was justice minister; and Ted Morton was finance minister.

Backbencher Doug Griffiths is also running, as are Gary Mar and Rick Orman.

Mar had been Alberta's trade representative in Washington and a health minister under former premier Ralph Klein, while Orman was energy minister in the days of premier Don Getty.

The winner is the candidate who gets a majority of votes and the results will be announced Saturday night at downtown convention centre.

If no one gets 50 per cent plus one, the top three vote-getters move on to a second and final round of voting on October 1st.

Political observers say it's crucial the party gets it right.

Although the Tories have been in control for 40 years, there have been signs of political decay under Stelmach.

Support in rural areas and in Calgary has been lost to the rival Wildrose Party because of frequent changes to oil royalty rules and due to new land-use rules that critics say threaten private-land ownership.

A recent poll suggests Mar is the front-runner but doesn't have the 50 per cent plus one.

Mar said he doesn't even think about that.

"We've seen in the past where front runners are hit very, very hard," said Mar, referring to Jim Dinning.

Dinning was the front runner in the 2006 campaign that saw Stelmach come up the middle on the second ballot to win.

"We haven't done any polling within our campaign, because I believe the only the poll that counts is the vote that's taken on Sept. 17."

The campaign has been running for eight months, since Stelmach made the surprise announcement in January that he was leaving.

The dominant topic has been health care.

Most of the candidates say they'll work within the system to fix problems with bed and doctor shortages and long waits for care.

Mar and Griffiths, however, have said the government has to be open to all ideas, including expanding the use of privately delivered care that would still be paid for by the public purse.

The candidates have also agreed to work to expand Alberta's oilsands, though Griffiths says he would go slower than the rest to make sure the province is refining as much product as possible in house to create jobs and wealth.

Political scientist Doreen Barrie says there were no surprises in the campaign.

"It was very predictable," said Barrie, with the University of Calgary.

"None of the candidates have come out with anything radical.

"It's all platitudes and playing it safe."

She said if there's no winner Saturday, things will change.

"Between rounds one and two, things might start to move. They'll have to take some risks."

WATCH: Ed Stelmach's farewell message