Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The King is Dead Long Live the King

King Ralph has announced, finally, that he is retiring October 2007, as he said he would during the last election.

This allows him to stop being made a fool of on April 1 when the Party of Calgary (PC's) gathers for its annual meeting and leadership review.

The knives are out and ever the populist Klein thwarted the embarassment of not having the parties support, which he demanded earlier this year when he challenged them to support him or else.

Alberta is now being governed by the Retirement Party, after Premier Ralph Klein confirmed he plans to step down as head of the Conservative dynasty -- but not for 19 long and aimless months.

And while his announcement not means that the leadership race which has been occuring in the back rooms will not become official till November of 2007, the infighting and backstabbing will make the Chretien and Martin struggles in the Liberals look like a fight in a sandbox.

Jim Dinning, who some consider the front-runner among six leadership hopefuls, said "there's still some confusion" about when the official leadership race will begin."If the date is October 2007, does the race start now or does the race start then?" Dinning said in an interview.

As I have noted before this is a struggle between the Calgary Capitalist Class which are classic liberals and the right wing social conservative rump in the party.

Ah there is no joy in mudville with this announcement, it merely delays the inevitable. The King is in his counting house, mad as a hatter. He is following his own agenda despite his party, his caucus or his MLA's. He is saving his own ass at the expense of his party.

More articles on King Ralph.

Tories risk taking same trip over a cliff as Socreds

That means the Conservatives won't have a new leader in place until February 2008 -- which gives the party little time to rebuild before the next provincial election is held, likely the same year.

Disaffected Tories are afraid Klein is giving himself too much time to say goodbye and the new leader too little time to say hello.

For them, 19 months is more than enough time for Klein's distracted, at times grumpy, leadership style to drive more supporters away from the party, and to drive the party over the same cliff that claimed the Alberta Social Credit Party and the federal Progressive Conservative Party under Brian Mulroney.

The grumblers are a paranoid lot and they're overstating their worst-case scenario. But they'll be voting at the party's convention and the only way they'd give Klein a ringing endorsement to stay is if he announces he's leaving -- soon.

Klein might still win the leadership vote by a comfortable margin, but then what?

How can he govern for the next 19 months?

He is such a lame duck he'll need crutches to get around for the next year.

Klein to step down next year
Globe and Mail - 4 hours ago
EDMONTON -- Ralph Klein, the country's most colourful and longest-serving Premier, ended years of speculation yesterday by finally announcing his official retirement date: October of 2007.
Klein says he'll quit in October 2007 Toronto Star
Klein locks in retirement date - - Calgary Sun - Edmonton Journal (subscription) - all 47 related »

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