05/09/2012 02:40 EDT | Updated 07/09/2012 05:12 EDT

New Democrats MLA numbers increase in B.C. as byelection winners sworn in

VICTORIA - New Democrats have gained some strength as two recently elected members have been sworn in to the legislature.

Last month's byelection winners, Joe Trasolini and Gwen O'Mahony, took the oath of office during a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday.

Trasolini won in Port Moody-Coquitlam, a seat held by former Liberal cabinet minister Iain Black and O'Mahony took Chilliwack-Hope, a seat held by long-time former Liberal cabinet minister Barry Penner.

Both Penner and Black left the Liberal government to pursue private sector opportunities, forcing the byelections.

New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix says both members have a lot of experience in areas such as municipal administration, business and front-line services to strengthen the NDP caucus.

The current standings in the B.C. legislature, with just a year before next provincial election, are Liberals, 46; NDP, 36; and three independents.