Ex-scholar becomes leader of Canada's Liberals

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's once-dominant Liberal party has officially named Michael Ignatieff as interim leader.

The party's national executive official declared him leader Wednesday after Liberal lawmakers and some other party members voted for the former academic. He will be acclaimed as permanent leader at a party convention in May.

Ignatieff is a former human rights professor at Harvard University.

He could become Canada's next prime minister if the Liberals and two left-of-center opposition parties stick with a plan to topple Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government and are allowed to form a coalition government in late January. Ignatieff, however, appears lukewarm to the idea and is expected to move the party to the right.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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