Brian Gallant has been chosen as the new leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party.
The 30 year-old lawyer was chosen at a leadership convention Saturday in Moncton on the first ballot.
During his final campaign speech Saturday morning, Mr. Gallant said the party and the province need a change from old-style politics that included patronage and instead put the people of the province first.
“We need people to believe in politics,” Mr. Gallant said. “We as politicians have to earn that trust again.”
The Liberals earned the dubious distinction of becoming the only one-term government in New Brunswick’s history after the September, 2010, election, resulting in former premier Shawn Graham’s resignation as party leader two months later.
The Liberals hold just 13 of the 55 seats in the legislative assembly.
Mr. Gallant is relatively new to provincial politics. He ran unsuccessfully against former premier Bernard Lord in the riding of Moncton East in 2006.
So far, no one has indicated publicly that they would be willing to resign to allow Mr. Gallant to seek a seat in the legislature.
The party says 14,672 people across the province cast ballots in the voting, which began on Oct. 23.
Mr. Gallant ran against former cabinet minister Mike Murphy and farmer Nick Duivenvoorden.
During a speech, Mr. Duivenvoorden said with the leadership decided, “The hard work begins now.”
Party president Britt Dysart said while a lot of the work to rebuild the party has been done, it will be up to the new leader to help the party develop policy and prepare for the next election.
Political analyst Don Desserud, formerly of the University of New Brunswick and now dean of arts at the University of Prince Edward Island, said the Liberals have a chance to return to power in 2014 because voters have shown that they’re no longer willing to always give a government a second chance.
“You have a very volatile electorate and that makes it more unpredictable, so no government is safe,” he said.
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