David Eby to become premier of Canada's British Columbia province

British Columbia’s Attorney General and Housing Minister David Eby, who is to be the province’s next premier, speaks to media in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Oct 20 (Reuters) - David Eby, British Columbia's attorney general and housing minister, will become the Canadian province's premier, the ruling New Democratic Party said on Thursday, after his rival in the party's leadership race was disqualified for violating electoral rules.

Eby is the only candidate eligible to replace premier John Horgan, who is stepping down for health reasons, after the party's executive committee late on Wednesday disqualified former federal NDP candidate and climate activist Anjali Appadurai from the race.

The decision was made after an investigation by Elizabeth Cull, the province's NDP chief electoral officer, found that Appadurai improperly coordinated with outside groups, including the environmental organization Dogwood B.C., to recruit new members who would be eligible to vote in the party leadership race.

Eby will be officially declared leader on Friday morning, Cull said in a statement.

"This has been a difficult road for everyone and there have been challenges along the way to be sure. But I'm confident that the work of the table officers and the executive of the B.C. NDP has been thorough," Horgan told a news conference. "I'm proud David Eby will be the next premier of British Columbia."

In a statement released on Wednesday, Appadurai called on NDP supporters across Canada to speak up against her "unjust disqualification" and said it would undermine the party. The next provincial election is set for 2024.

Horgan became premier in 2017 as head of a minority government before leading the NDP to a majority in 2020.

Elections BC, which oversees elections and campaigning in the province, had launched a review of Appadurai's campaign after receiving complaints that Dogwood B.C.'s activities were effectively political contributions to the leadership contest. It closed that process on Thursday following her disqualification.

Eby did not immediately respond to a request comment.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.