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Saturday March 18, 2006
Former prime minister Paul Martin has put to rest
any speculation about a comeback, formally
quitting as federal Liberal party leader.

Martin's official resignation also starts the clock
ticking for his replacement. The Liberal party,
which meets this weekend to set the date and
rules for the leadership race, is obliged under its
rules to elect a new boss within one year of a
leader's resignation.

Liberal party president Mike Eizenga said the
timing of Martin's resignation — which becomes
effective when the convention is officially called
this weekend — has given the party "maximum
flexibility" for choosing a new leader.

"If he had resigned effectively the night of Jan.
23, the national executive would have been
obligated to have a leadership convention by Jan.
23, 2007," Eizenga said yesterday. Now, the
Liberal party can choose any date between now
and the middle of next March. It's said that the
party is leaning toward a date sooner rather than
later — possibly November.
Paul Martin officially resigns
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