Liberal leader resigning under pressure

Mon Dec 8, 2008 1:49pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Embattled Canadian opposition Liberal leader Stephane Dion announced on Monday he would step down as soon as a successor can be chosen and this should be done by late January.

Dion, who led his party to a disastrous election result on October 14, had planned to step down in May but said he agreed with the sense in the Liberal Party that a new leader needs to be in place before the House of Commons resumes on January 26.

"I recommend this course to my party and caucus. As always, I want to do what is best for my country and my party, especially when Canadians' jobs and pensions are at risk. So I have decided to step aside as leader of the Liberal Party effective as soon as my successor is duly chosen," he said.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Liberal Leader Stephane Dion speaks to supporters during a pro-coalition government rally at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, December 6, 2008. Canada's three opposition parties have joined forces trying to overthrow Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party minority and take power after a confidence vote that had been scheduled for December 8. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>