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Ex-Finance Chief Poised to Be Next Canada Premier

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

TORONTO — Former Finance Minister Paul Martin easily won a majority of committed delegates for the convention that will choose the next governing party leader, making him all but certain to succeed Jean Chretien as Canada's prime minister.

Unofficial figures supplied by the Liberal Party said Martin had secured 2,907 delegates by Sunday evening, more than needed for a victory at the November convention to pick a replacement for Chretien as party leader. Chretien is retiring.

Martin, 65, was at his farm in Quebec province when he learned of the victory, which had been widely expected.

"Well, I'll be," Martin said by speakerphone to his campaign headquarters. "I suppose that someone who wants to be prime minister should be more articulate than this."

Martin is expected to focus on improving U.S.-Canadian relations.

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