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"It's better to have the party as a whole involved in finding a solution than it is having a solution imposed from above," said Rae.

Sources said Ferguson and national party director Greg Fergus feverishly cobbled together four options for choosing the next leader, including two that would ensure broad grassroots participation. The proposals were be to presented late Monday to the full national executive.

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In response to one upset Liberal, party president Doug Ferguson promised: "I will stand up for our members on this issue."

Rae charged that letting caucus alone determine the leader would be undemocratic and elitist, and would shut out party members in vast areas of the country that are not represented by Liberals in the House of Commons.

Ignatieff made it clear Monday in an email to supporters that he intends to run for the job of interim leader a Air Max 95 Neon Womens

The Ignatieff camp's preferred option of having the frontrunner effectively crowned at Wednesday's caucus meeting and ratified by the national executive.

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Their deliberations took on added urgency after Dion announced Monday that he's speeding up his departure, clearing the way for a replacement to take over before Parliament returns from its Christmas break.

of the leadership selection process.

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He got some support Monday from Toronto MP Gerard Kennedy, the kingmaker who helped secure the leadership for Dion in 2006. Kennedy, who endorsed Rae for the leadership this time, argued that a more inclusive process would confer more "legitimacy" on whomever wins.

Ignatieff's supporters hope his installation as interim leader would put irresistible pressure on his one remaining leadership rival Bob Rae to bow out, although Rae could theoretically remain in the race until the May 2 leadership vote.

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"I would be very pleased if the caucus were to unite around Michael on Wednesday," LeBlanc told a news conference.

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Late Monday, the Ignatieff camp released the names of 46 Liberal MPs who are backing the frontrunner. It did not mention his support among senators, who tend to lean more towards Rae.

Dion, who had intended to resign in May when his successor was supposed to be chosen at a Vancouver convention, said he'll now go as soon as a replacement can be picked under an accelerated process.

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members to choose the next leader before end of January.

While the national executive would normally rubber stamp the decision of caucus, LeBlanc held out the possibility of the executive developing some sort of alternative process to allow party rank and file to "validate" the caucus choice.

OTTAWA Michael Ignatieff's hopes of being crowned Liberal leader this week have hit a snag, as rank and file members rebel against the prospect of being shut out Air Max 95 Gold

That scenario was spelled out Monday by New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc as he dropped out of the leadership contest and threw his support to Ignatieff.

but Ignatieff coronation in doubt

He agreed with the party consensus that a permanent leader needs to be in place before a vote on the federal budget Jan. 27 when Liberals will need to decide whether to plunge the country into another election or try to replace the Conservatives with a coalition government.

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"There is a sense in the party, and certainly in the caucus, that given these new circumstances the new leader needs to be in place before the House resumes," Dion said in a written statement.

position he's likely to win because he's believed to have the support of most Liberal MPs.

Liberal riding presidents were also to be consulted during a conference call Tuesday.

Expanding the number of Liberals required to approve the caucus choice of interim leader to include riding presidents and defeated candidates, in addition to the national executive.

With Rae out, Ignatieff would become the de facto permanent leader whose acclamation would be formalized in Vancouver.

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Under the party's constitution, when a leader resigns the national executive, in consultation with the caucus, is empowered to choose an interim leader.

Kennedy and other MPs said they've been hearing from angry Liberals who don't want to be left out of the process. Insiders said national executive members were also deluged with missives from irate party members.

Have caucus choose an interim leader Wednesday other than Ignatieff or Rae. Later this month or early January, allow every party member to vote by phone for a permanent leader, who would be officially ratified by delegates at the May convention.

"I agree . . . So I have decided to step aside as leader of the Liberal party effective as soon as my successor is duly chosen."

Rae was giving no sign of giving up without a fight. He continued to insist that the party must find some expedited way to allow all Air Max Deluxe 1999

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Should he win, Ignatieff said Air Max 180 Kanye West he's committed to having his leadership "confirmed by our party" at the previously scheduled convention in Vancouver next May, after which he would "immediately engage the grassroots" in policy development.

"I don't think that coronations are generally very successful in political parties. I think most people believe that it's better to have a contest, it's better to have a choice."

Party brass were scrambling Monday to come up with a plan that would give grassroots members a say in choosing a successor to Stephane Dion rather than leave the choice to 77 Liberal MPs and 58 senators at a closed door caucus meeting on Wednesday.

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