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Liberals to make review of leader more difficult

National executive favours changing voting format


Bill Curry
29 September 2003


OTTAWA - The Liberal party's national executive has supported making it harder for rank-and-file party members to trigger a leadership review, one week after Paul Martin secured his bid to become leader.

The current rules call for two votes to be held during a leadership review, one from delegates at a convention and another from all members of the party.

At a meeting on the weekend at an Ottawa hotel, the Liberal executive recommended the one-member-one-vote aspect of the review be scrapped. The proposed chance to the party's constitution must now be approved by more than two-thirds of party delegates at the November leadership convention.

Akaash Maharaj, the Liberal party's national policy chairman and candidate for party president, described the current system as a "strange double-headed beast."

The main problem with the membership vote is that membership rules vary greatly from province to province, he said, with some granting lifetime memberships [for free] while others charge $25 a year.

"The existing system could create, under certain circumstances, a race to the bottom, where different jurisdictions who felt differently about a sitting leader would progressively lower the threshold for membership until they could effectively take over the vote. That has now been done away with," he said.

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