Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister plans to leave office Wednesday and have the Tory caucus choose an interim leader.

Pallister, who announced his intention to step down earlier this month, said he has decided to leave well before the Progressive Conservative leadership vote Oct. 30.

Part of the reason, he says, is a desire to ensure the race does not become divisive.

“The dangers of not leaving [this week] are that false allegations will be made about me trying to influence the outcome [of the leadership vote],” Pallister said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“And I have not, in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“I have only spoken two weeks ago to my cabinet and caucus and said, ‘I will be neutral. I wish you well. I would encourage you to make sure that this is a contest among friends.”‘

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