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Deputy Jeremy Rockliff firms as Tasmania’s next premier

Jeremy Rockliff will replace Peter Gutwein who is stepping down at Tasmania's premier.

Jeremy Rockliff will replace Peter Gutwein who is stepping down at Tasmania's premier. Photo: AAP

Tasmanian Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff appears poised to take on the state’s top job following the shock resignation of Peter Gutwein.

Mr Gutwein announced on Monday he was quitting politics after two years as premier, citing a draining pandemic workload and a desire to spend more time with family.

Mr Rockliff, considered one of the more moderate voices in the governing Liberals, has been deputy since the party came to power in 2014.

“I’m absolutely keen to put my hat in the ring,” he told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

“I look forward to that, but it’s up to my colleagues. Talking to my colleagues I’m very optimistic.”

State Liberal MPs will hold a party room meeting on Friday to decide who will be Tasmania’s 47th premier.

No other MPs have publicly declared their intention to run for the top job.

Mr Rockliff, 52, was elected to parliament in 2002 in the north-west electorate of Braddon.

Attorney-General Elise Archer, who hails from the Hobart-based electorate of Clark, has confirmed she will run for the position of deputy premier.

Mr Gutwein, who entered politics in 2002, became premier in January 2020 after Will Hodgman’s decision to depart mid-term.

Mr Gutwein was elected unopposed by the party room, with Mr Rockliff as his deputy.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael Ferguson, one of the party’s more conservative voices, was in the running for the premiership with Ms Archer as deputy, but the pair pulled out before the vote.

Mr Gutwein, whose popularity soared during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of his hard border stance, on Monday indicated he could no longer “give 110 per cent” as premier.

-AAP

Topics: Tasmania
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