03/13/2014 03:34 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

First official candidate in race to be leader of Newfoundland Tories

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Businessman Bill Barry became the first official candidate Thursday for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The party has given candidates who are interested in running until noon on Friday to complete the requirements of providing nomination papers, which means getting 50 signatures and handing over a financial deposit.

The party said Thursday that Barry has met the criteria to run for the leadership and becomes the party's first accredited candidate.

A new leader will be selected at a two-day convention that begins July 4 in St. John's.

Tom Marshall is serving as premier of the province and interim leader of the party after Kathy Dunderdale quit Jan. 24.

Nominations to run for the party leadership opened Feb. 17.

Barry is CEO of Corner Brook-based Barry Group Inc., a fishery company.