by Vittorio Hernandez
The sudden departure of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton from his earthly life and Canadian politics may leave the party in shambles, just months after it became the official opposition party.
Political analysts said that Layton left a void in the party, which could be difficult for interim leader Nycole Turmel to fill. Aside from her temporary appointment, Turmel is a newbie in politics and is suddenly given the challenge to hold the caucus.
Turmel said that she will follow the deathbed recommendation of Layton for her to temporarily head the party until the permanent leader is chosen. However, that that selection may not happen until next year.
The rookie MP from Quebec admitted that hers is the most difficult job in Canadian politics because, aside from shepherding the New Democrats, she also has to strike a balance between serving the interest of Quebec residents who voted 59 NDP MPs to Parliament and NDP supporters from other Canadian provinces.
Turmel stressed that she is not replacing Layton, but fulfilling an obligation to continue the work that the deceased politician started, which is to provide Canadians an alternative government beside the ruling Tories.
She said the New Democrats will spend this week grieving for their leader, who succumbed to cancer. Turmel added the party will start to work on the details or a leadership convention at a later but unspecified date.
This early, before Layton is even buried, reports said that there is open lobbying within NDP to fill the post vacated by Layton.
"Death of Layton Poses Challenge for NDP Interim Leader"