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Newfoundland and Labrador’s NDP leader steps down following review vote

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Alison Coffin, an economist, became leader of Newfoundland and Labrador’s New Democrats in March 2019.Sarah Smellie/The Canadian Press

The leader of Newfoundland and Labrador’s New Democrats has announced she’s stepping down following a vote by her party on Sunday to review her role.

Alison Coffin says she’s resigning so the NDP’s new executive council can focus on the future of the party and the province.

The council was elected during a provincial NDP convention that saw a 57 per cent vote in favour of a leadership review.

Coffin, an economist, became party leader in March 2019 and won the riding of St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi in that year’s provincial election.

But she lost the seat by 53 votes to Liberal John Abbott in the province’s pandemic-delayed 2021 election, reducing the NDP’s presence in the legislature from three seats to two.

Party president Kyle Rees says Jim Dinn, who won in the neighbouring riding of St. John’s Centre, will act as interim leader.

Coffin and the NDP are in the midst of a legal challenge of the 2021 results in St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi, and Rees, a lawyer, said her resignation will have no effect on that challenge. He said he believes the party has a good case and he hopes Coffin will step forward as the NDP candidate if the challenge is successful and a by-election is called.

He thanked her for her service to the party, noting that she has been a volunteer leader since losing her seat in the provincial legislature in March.

Rees and the NDP’s communications official would not let Coffin answer questions from reporters after her short resignation speech.

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