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Dianne Watts says she will decide next week on leadership run

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, pegged in polls as one of the few people who could save the embattled Liberal Party in British Columbia, will decide early next week whether to run to succeed departing Premier Gordon Campbell.

Ms. Watts said she will be weighing her options over the next few days.

"Any time an opportunity is presented, it's important to weigh all the options," she said. "It's about taking a step back and evaluating the landscape, evaluating the impact that it has on your life and moving on from there."

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Other top contenders to replace Mr. Campbell include MLA Blair Lekstrom and cabinet ministers George Abbott, Mike de Jong, Rich Coleman and Kevin Falcon. In a recent Globe and Mail poll, 65 per cent of readers picked Ms. Watts as their choice to be the future Liberal leader. More than 2,100 people participated in the poll.

Ms. Watts said she is flattered and honoured by all of the calls and e-mails she has received. However, she responded less positively to the poll numbers.

"I think that's a little hard to live up to," she said.

Ms. Watts was elected mayor of Surrey in 2005 – the first woman to hold that position in the city. Crime rates fell in her first term, which likely aided her re-election in 2008. Under her leadership, Surrey has been named the best place to invest in British Columbia.

The 21-member executive of the B.C. Liberal Party will meet on Saturday to decide when and where the leadership vote will take place. According to party guidelines, a leader must be elected within six months of Saturday's meeting. Mr. Campbell will remain Premier in the interim.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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