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UCP candidate booted from race due to legal matters

Last Updated Apr 20, 2023 at 9:59 am MDT

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, left, and former United Conservative candidate for Fort Mcmurray-Wood Buffalo riding Zulkifl Mujahid pose together in a photo. (Courtesy: Zulkifl Mujahid, Facebook)

The United Conservative Party (UCP) candidate for the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo riding, Zulkifl Mujahid, is getting the boot ahead of the next provincial election.

In a statement to CityNews, the UCP says the candidate has been “named in legal matters” that “arose after the nomination process.”

Because those legal matters will continue during the campaign, the party says he’s going to be replaced “to allow him the ability to focus on addressing these issues.”

Mujahid defeated current MLA Tany Yao for the UCP nomination in December 2022.

Yao won the seat in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019 with more than 71 per cent of the vote.

Multiple sources said Mujahid is being sued for defamation by a local party official over alleged remarks about him and his business.

Latest in string of UCP resignations and dismissals

Mujahid is the fourth UCP candidate to drop out in the last month due to controversy or personal reasons.

On March 24, ministers Travis Toews and Sonya Savage announced they would not be seeking re-election in Grande Prairie-Wapiti and Calgary-North West, respectively.

Shortly after, the UCP candidate for Lethbridge-West, Tory Tanner, resigned after claiming in a video that children are exposed to pornography in schools and teachers help them change their gender identity.

In addition, Tunde Obasan, who had planned to run in Edmonton-South, withdrew on April 2 for personal reasons.

New UCP candidates have since been named in those four constituencies.

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The party says a new candidate in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo will be appointed following consultations with local riding officials.

It notes the provincial board has given the leader the authority to fill any vacancy that arises before the general election.

The writ is scheduled to be dropped on May 1 for a May 29 polling day.