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Kevin O’Leary, the reality television star, has dropped out of an election to lead Canada’s Conservative party.

The entrepreneur, who had pledged he would revive Canada’s economy, threw his support behind Maxime Bernier, a self-described libertarian from Quebec.

He said he was quitting because he could not drum up votes in Quebec, which would set the Conservatives back in their quest to beat Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the next federal election.

“I can’t win,” Mr O’Leary said. “It’s for the sake of the party that I do this.”

The departure of Mr O’Leary — who had drawn comparisons to Donald Trump for his television background and bombastic style — leaves Canada’s conservatives in limbo as populist messages creep into candidates’ platforms. The party is seeking redemption after losing to Trudeau’s Liberals in 2015, which ended a decade of Conservative power under Stephen Harper.

Mr Bernier has been in second place in the polls, while Mr O’Leary has led, leaving the Quebec MP as a frontrunner for the next leader of Canada’s opposition party.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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