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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 17:04 GMT
Canadian PM sets retirement date
Jean Chretien
Chretien has had a good innings, but Liberals want change at the top
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has announced he will step down on 12 December after a decade in office.

He will be succeeded by the former Finance Minister, Paul Martin, who last week was nominated as the ruling Liberal party's leader.

Mr Chretien, 70, had earlier said he would retire by February 2004.

"I wish him good luck," Mr Chretien said of his rival, who was sacked in 2002 for launching a leadership bid.

Election possible

The two politicians met on Tuesday to work out a transition of power.

Mr Martin who won an overwhelming victory to succeed Mr Chretien as Liberal leader, has said his incoming government will be a break from the past three governments headed by his predecessor.

No election is required for Mr Martin to succeed but he has indicated he will call an election next year to seek a new five-year mandate instead of serving out the final two years of Mr Chretien's term.

Mr Martin, 65, has a reputation for being a fiscal conservative. He balanced Canada's budget during his nine years as finance minister.

Canada's Chretien bids farewell
14 Nov 03  |  Americas
Canada's PM sets resignation date
22 Aug 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Canada
28 Oct 03  |  Country profiles

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