Premier Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador resigns

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Kathy Dunderdale is stepping down as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and leader of the province's Progressive Conservative party on Friday.

Dunderdale, who was under growing pressure after two members left the Tory caucus questioning her leadership, said she concluded it was time for her to resign.

"Ancient Hebrew scriptures teach us that there's a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens," Dunderdale said Wednesday.

"I have discovered that this also applies to public service. Just as you know when it's time to step up, you also know when it is time to step back, and that time for me is now."

Dunderdale's announcement comes two days after backbencher Paul Lane, who had been one of her most vocal defenders, left the Tory government to join the Opposition Liberals.

Lane said Dunderdale has lost touch with voters and badly handled major electricity failures earlier this month.

Lane's move followed one by Tom Osborne, who left the Tories to sit as an Independent a year ago before crossing the floor to join the Liberals.

Dunderdale said she is leaving the province in better shape, and listed her government's accomplishments such as the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project and a stronger economy.

She was first elected in October 2003 to represent the St. John's-area riding of Virginia Waters and took over as leader of the Tories after former premier Danny Williams quit politics in late 2010. She was re-elected with a majority government in October 2011.

Finance Minister Tom Marshall will be interim premier.

The Tories have 34 seats in the legislature. The Liberals have nine and the NDP have three.

There are also two Independent members.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Dunderdale's resignation would leave the Tories with 33 seats in the legislature.

Organizations: Opposition Liberals, NDP

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, ST. JOHN'S

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