Premier Christy Clark has ended months of speculation, announcing she will wait until the scheduled date of May 2013 to face the voters in a general election.
Since winning the B.C. Liberal leadership in February, Clark has questioned whether she has a sufficient mandate to govern until the election date specified in provincial law. She reversed that position in interviews with selected Vancouver media outlets Wednesday.
Clark denied that the defeat of the harmonized sales tax or party polling changed her mind. In various interviews, she emphasized the instability of the world economy and the lack of a public appetite for another election this year.
NDP leader Adrian Dix said the government’s unpopularity after the two-year HST furore and its lack of new ideas are the reason for the reversal.
After being sworn in as premier, Clark appointed an election readiness committee chaired by cabinet minister Rich Coleman and Brad Bennett, son of former premier Bill Bennett. Election preparations recently cost Clark a cabinet minister, as Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner stepped down as attorney-general in August, citing the pressure to name a campaign team for a possible fall election.
B.C.’s election law specifies a provincial election every four years, but reserves the traditional right of the government to deal with unusual circumstances such as death or resignation.