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Leading opposition party in Canada elects leader
Canada's leading opposition party elects new leader months after Canada mourns previous head
By The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) ' Canada's leading opposition party has elected a new leader months after the country mourned the loss of the party's previous head who died of cancer.

Members of the New Democratic Party elected Thomas Mulcair at a convention on Saturday.

The NDP, a union-backed party with socialist roots, took Canadians by surprise in the federal election last May by winning official opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history. Most credited previous leader Jack Layton's charisma and his popularity in the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Layton died months later in August.

Mulcair's opponents say he'll turn the party into a pale imitation of the more centrist Liberals in a bid to topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives at the next election.

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