West Australian opposition leader Liza Harvey is expected to confirm her resignation from the party leadership with less than four months of state elections.
It comes after months of bad polls for the WA Liberals, which have already been reduced to just 13 out of 59 seats in the lower house.
In a statement sent to Liberal MPs, Ms Harvey said she was stepping down to “give the party a clear face” for the party’s candidates in the March election.
“Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community, it has been extremely difficult for our message to resonate,” she wrote.
“I stand aside to give the Liberal Party – with a new leadership team – the opportunity to reset our election strategy and give the public a real choice in the March election.
Ms Harvey, 54, took over as party leader from Mike Nahan in June last year.
She previously served as Minister of Police in the Liberal government led by Colin Barnett.
Premier Mark McGowan’s approval ratings have reached record levels in recent months, with his stringent border closures and isolationist rhetoric proving hugely popular with voters.
His Labor government is widely expected to win a second term and aim for other fringe Liberal seats after a landslide victory in 2017.
Opposition Treasury spokesman Dean Nalder and health spokesperson Zak Kirkup could replace Ms Harvey, though Mr Kirkup’s seat in Dawesville is among those at risk of tipping over to Labor.
Ms Harvey said she intended to stay in parliament.
“Before COVID-19 started, the Labor government was a government that did nothing,” she said.
“While they did a good job closing the borders initially, the hardest part is getting out of the lockdown. Clearly the Labor government has no plan to deal with this.
“I will use the next 111 days to campaign for re-election to my Scarborough seat and hope to be a prominent member of a future Liberal government.