OTTAWA, (Reuters) – Canada’s Liberals crowned charismatic rising political star Justin Trudeau as party leader yesterday, relying more on hope and a youthful image than on experience and substance to contest seven years of Conservative rule.
The 41-year-old son of the swashbuckling former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin had been the overwhelming favorite to beat the five remaining candidates in the party election, whose results were announced at a loud Ottawa rally this evening.
Trudeau had imitated U.S. President Barack Obama in campaigning largely on a message of hope, and he said detailed policy pronouncements will come later, ahead of a federal election due in 2015.
“What Justin Trudeau is benefiting from is probably having the right message at the right time in terms of a swing back to less hyperbole and negativism,” said Nik Nanos of polling firm Nanos Research.
Trudeau will be the Liberals’ seventh leader in the last decade, including two interim bosses, compared with just two leaders between 1919 and 1958.
That reflects the harder times facing the party, which ran Canada for two-thirds of the 20th century.
In the 2011 election, the Liberals fell to third place for the first time, behind the Conservatives on the right and the New Democrats on the left.