NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian will go to a NSW Liberal Party meeting on Monday unopposed as candidate to be the party’s next leader and state’s next Premier.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed on Friday morning she would be running for the position, and that Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet would be her Liberal Party deputy.
Then hours later, the only Liberal MP remaining in the race to be Premier, Transport minister Andrew Constance, said he would not run at Monday’s meeting.
This meant Ms Berejiklian was all but assured of being voted party leader, and Premier of NSW, on Monday.
Her announcement came a day after Premier Mike Baird announced his shock resignation from politics, citing serious health challenges faced by his parents and sister.
During the announcement she was coy on her chances.
“I’m very, very heartened by the support I’ve received to date from colleagues in the party room, and of course we have a way to go,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
“Nothing is assumed, I’m not assuming anything ahead of Monday morning’s meeting and in fact if colleagues feel they want to put their hands up, no hard feelings – it’s a democracy.”
Planning Minister Rob Stokes had earlier confirmed he won’t contest the Liberal leadership.
She paid tribute to Mr Baird as an “outstanding premier” who had left the state in far better shape than he found it. She was surprised by his decision to step down but appreciated the reasons for it.
“It’s fair to say the coffee meeting I had with him yesterday morning wasn’t what I expected it to be, and I was taken aback by the news he gave me,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The 46-year-old would become NSW’s second female premier if elected. The Labor Party’s Kristina Keneally served in the top job from 2009 to 2011.
Elected to Sydney’s lower north shore seat of Willoughby in 2003, Ms Berejiklian is an experienced politician who has overseen massive surpluses and a strong budget performance as state treasurer.
“I’m someone who works incredibly hard, I’m someone who appreciates what it’s like to face challenges in life and (that you) have to keep applying yourself to be the best you can be,” she said.
– with AAP