The Wildrose and PC parties voted overwhelmingly to join forces and create the new United Conservative Party on Saturday and the race is now on to choose a new leader.

The Wildrose and Progressive Conservative caucuses met in Edmonton on Monday and chose Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA, Nathan Cooper, to take the helm while the search for a new leader gets underway.

Cooper says he is honoured  and that the new party will be holding the Notley government accountable for its decisions.

“Conservatives are now united for the greater good of Albertans, and we will put their concerns at the forefront of our legislative efforts each and every day. This is a new day for our province,” he said in a statement. “We’ll be holding the NDP government to account. As the NDP continues to fail working Alberta families by imposing risky, ideological policies that cause job losses across the province, our caucus is united in its goal of advocating for strong, common sense solutions that create jobs for Albertans.

The focus now shifts to selecting a permanent leader for the party.

Brian Jean, Jason Kenney, and PC strategist Doug Schweitzer say they will run for leader of the new party.

Jean held a news conference in Airdrie on Monday to officially launch his campaign.

“We cannot risk putting our new party in a position that leaves us vulnerable by the time of the next election. I will be here for Albertans, championing them and standing on their side every step of the way,” said Jean. “We need to build a new Alberta Advantage for all Albertans so we can create tens-of-thousands of new jobs and secure our long-term prosperity.”

 One political expert says the race for the leadership will be between Jean and Kenney.

“Based on polls and connection to the province, sort of a profile as a politician within the province, it looks like Brian Jean has the edge at the present moment, but a campaign with a good campaign manager, a lot of money and a good organization can change hearts and minds,” said Lori William, Political Sciences Professor, Mount Royal University.

The vote for a permanent leader goes on October 28th.