03/21/2012 12:06 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT

Turmel says she's leaving NDP in good shape for new leader

OTTAWA - Nycole Turmel says she's leaving the NDP in good shape for the new leader to be elected on Saturday.

After eight months as interim leader, she says the 102-member New Democrat caucus is united and the party still on track to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives in the 2015 election.

Turmel dismisses polls that suggest the Bloc Quebecois has overtaken the NDP in Quebec, the province that delivered almost 60 per cent of the party's seats in last spring's campaign.

She says polls are transitory and the new leader will have three years to make up any ground lost since Jack Layton's death last August.

Turmel had been an MP for only two months when Layton asked her last July to fill in for him while he battled cancer.

But what was supposed to be a summer job turned into a quasi-permanent post after Layton died, leaving Turmel to lead the NDP charge in the House of Commons while many of the party's best performers campaigned for the leadership.