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Mulcair, Topp lead roster of possible NDP leadership candidates

Who hasn't ruled out the possibility of running for NDP leadership?

Since party president Brian Topp told the press he was interested in leading the official opposition on Monday, at least half a dozen other MPs have made similar overtures.

MP Peter Julian (Burnaby - New Westminster) announced his intentions to run. Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin said he would consider running on a Liberal coalition platform.

MP Robert Chrisholm (Dartmouth - Cole harbour) is preparing for a possible run by taking French lessons.

Halifax MP Megan Leslie reportedly hasn't ruled out a run for leadership, and Gatineau MP Francoise Boivin is going to wait to learn the rules of the leadership race (to be announced Sept. 8) before commenting either way.

Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) and Charlie Angus (Timmins - James Bay), are also reportedly considering it.

But the two most prominent potential candidates are deputy leader Thomas Mulcair and party president Brian Topp (whose name was reportedly leaked as a possible replacement even before Layton's funeral)

Topp, 51, is from Quebec and is bilingual. In the early 1990s he served as a legislative assistant to Quebec NDP MP Phil Edmonston. He was appointed party leader in 2011, after Quebec voters launched the NDP to official opposition status.

Mulcair's leadership aspirations were also apparently no secret in the party. Known for being outspoken, feisty and even abrasive, Mulcair drew criticism in May for casting doubt on President Obama's claims that the U.S. had photos of Osama bin Laden's body.

After the last federal election, with Layton at the helm and Mulcair at his side, Globe columnist Jeffrey Simpson suggested that the "Jack and Tom show" would be "among the most fascinating of the next Parliament."

That show, unfortunately, ended before it began.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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