Atamanenko confident in new leader

The New Democrats have replaced the late Jack Layton with permanent party leader Thomas Mulcair.

The New Democrats have finally replaced the late Jack Layton with a permanent party leader.

Thomas Mulcair was selected to fill the big seat after an attempted cyber-attack on the NDP’s electronic voting system Saturday forced party officials to temporarily delay the process of choosing its next federal leader.

Six other candidates arrived in Toronto vying for the party’s top job, including former party president Brian Topp and dark-horse candidate Nathan Cullen.

B.C. Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko is confident Mulcair will do a fine job, though he backed Cullen, who finished third.

“I liked what (Cullen) had to say about cooperation with other parties, he committed to food sovereignty, the environment and the need to bring proportional representation,” he said.

“Obviously I would have wanted my candidate to win but that’s the democratic process and I feel pretty good, I feel quite comfortable.”

Atamanenko cast his vote via regular mail since he was on his way back to Ottawa from his riding, where he was on a food sovereignty tour during the NDP convention.

“I’m not much of an online person anyways,” he said.

“It’s a good thing that I decided not to because there were some problems, people were having a hard time logging in and it wasn’t all that smooth.”

Mulcair won with 33,881 votes, taking 57.1 per cent of support after the fourth round of voting.

The 57-year-old, a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, becomes Canada’s 44th Opposition leader.

“I think it will be quite smooth,” said Atamanenko. “We’ve already had a smooth transition, in the in-term, and Tom is not going to do anything drastic. He is going to retain the critic portfolios and we’ll just do a gradual transition into the new leadership.

-With files from CP