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The Globe and Mail

Libby Davies opts out of NDP leadership race

Libby Davies, shown in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in 2006, will not run to replace Jack Layton as NDP leader.

Lyle Stafford/lyle stafford The Globe and Mail

NDP deputy leader Libby Davies has ruled out running in the party's helm race.

"It was a decision made after a lot of thought about what my role should be," the Vancouver East MP said Thursday.

Her minimal ability to speak French was one of her main reasons, she said in a phone interview from New Orleans where she's speaking at a conference about HIV and housing.

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"I do think it's really important that the next leader of the NDP represent that we're a bilingual country," Ms. Davies said.

She said she made the decision earlier this week not to run for the job left vacant after the death of Jack Layton. It became easier to make up her mind after returning to Parliament on Monday, she said. Rather than running, she's choosing to use her seniority to assist Interim Leader Nycole Turmel during the next key months for the New Democratic Party.

"I'm one of the senior people," Ms. Davies said. "There's only four of us left now from 1997."

She said she's yet to put her support behind a leadership candidate but is considering the options.

On Wednesday, MPs Kennedy Stewart and Isabelle Morin joined those urging undecided Peter Julian, from the B.C. riding of Burnaby–New Westminster, to run.

The only declared candidates so far are former party president Brian Topp and Quebec MP Romeo Saganash.

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