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ACT 2020 Election: Coe’s leadership in doubt after heavy ACT election defeat | Canberra Times

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Speculation is growing that Alistair Coe’s four-year reign as leader of the Canberra Liberals will end after the party’s heavy defeat in the ACT election. Mr Coe has not yet stated whether he will seek to retain party leadership after Saturday’s defeat, which will send the Liberals into opposition for another four years. The opposition leader did not appear before the media on Sunday or respond to calls and texts from The Canberra Times. His statement Saturday night that holding the leadership of the Canberra Liberals was the greatest honor of his life sparked immediate speculation about his future. As dust settled on the result, an expectation has emerged that Liberal education spokeswoman Elizabeth Lee and former leader Jeremy Hanson will challenge the leadership, though neither has publicly stated an intention to run. Mr Hanson declined to comment Sunday. Ms Lee said in a text message that “there was not much to say with the remaining countries yet to be determined”. The party is seeking answers after Canberrans dismissed Mr. Coe in favor of the other four years of the Green Labor government. The result has cost three Liberal MLAs their seats: James Milligan in Yerrabi, Candice Burch in Kurrajong and Andrew Wall in Brindabella. All three MPs are from the Conservative side of the Liberals, with their losses ready to shift the balance of power within a reduced party chamber. Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Lee are from the moderate wing of the party. The party convention dictates that leadership and deputy leadership positions be vacated following an election defeat. A party chamber vote will not be held until the results are finalized in all seats. Some Liberals are convinced that Mr. Coe will compete again with the leadership, while others believe he will not raise his hand again. The post-mortem campaign soon began as the first set of results came on Saturday evening. The Liberals are blaming the party for the sixth consecutive loss in the stunt-filled campaign and Mr Coe’s failure to present himself as a credible alternative to Mr Barr. While the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced during the campaign, many saw the election as a referendum on Mr Coe’s leadership. Brindabella MLA Mark Parton, who managed to strengthen his personal vote despite a major departure from the Liberals in the southern suburban electorate, said the result showed the campaign had failed. “We went to the polls with a unified strategy,” he said. “We were unified after leadership and strategy, and it very clearly did not work. We have to choose it and try to understand why.” After leading the Liberals ticket to Brindabella, the former morning radio host has been suggested in some quarters as a potential leadership contender. READ MORE: Mr. Parton was calm when asked about his leadership aspirations. “We are one, even despite what was a very terrible night for us, a very, very close team,” he said. “We will have those discussions when we get together, when we know who is in the tent.” I am simply here to serve the people who chose me, and then the party in whatever quality I can. “

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