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OBA reveals its leadership contenders today

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Senior Opposition members are said to want Senator Michael Dunkley to step down from the One Bermuda Alliance leadership race because of his long track record with the United Bermuda.

High-ranking members believe critics would dub the OBA a mere reincarnation of the UBP if Sen Dunkley, who led the UBP to defeat at the 2007 general election, is elected its first leader at a conference later this month.

Sen Dunkley was yesterday said to remain keen to take charge, but some were hoping to persuade him to run for deputy instead, allowing Senator Craig Cannonier to become clear favourite. Sen Cannonier does not have Sen Dunkley’s political experience or popularity in the polls, but many see the former Bermuda Democratic Alliance leader as the OBA’s best hope of creating a non-UBP brand.

Members also hope if Sen Dunkley doesn’t become leader he can fight the next general election in Smith’s North, where he’s considered a good bet to pinch a seat currently held by the Progressive Labour Party.

If he becomes leader, he will be forced to switch to the Devonshire South Central seat soon to be vacated by interim leader John Barritt, meaning the OBA would have to find a new candidate for Smith’s North.

Meanwhile Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards remains a probable contender for the leadership contest which takes place on Saturday, September 10.

But Mr Richards, who lost to Kim Swan at a UBP leadership contest in 2009, is deemed an outside bet because he failed to impress in the last general election, when he only scraped victory in safe UBP seat Devonshire East.

The OBA is due to announce its leadership contenders today; neither Sen Cannonier, Sen Dunkley, Mr Richards nor party chairman Michael Fahy would comment yesterday.

Party members have previously said they’re keen to avoid turning the conference into an ugly battle; Sen Dunkley is said to command support from the OBA’s former UBP camp, with Sen Cannonier popular among the former BDA members. Many members would prefer the pair to come to an agreement ahead of the conference rather than cause a heated row on the night.

A number of MPs have ruled themselves out of the running for the leadership, including Trevor Moniz, Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill.

Useful websites: www.oba.bm

One Bermuda Alliance Senators Craig Cannonier, Dr Katherine Michelmore and Michael Dunkley
Craig Cannonier
Michael Dunkley

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Published September 01, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 01, 2011 at 10:14 am)

OBA reveals its leadership contenders today

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