Farage: ‘I am Still Technically Leader’ After UKIP’s James Stands Down

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LONDON (AP) — Nigel Farage says he is technically still the interim leader of the UK Independence Party but does not plan to pursue that role on a permanent basis following the surprise resignation of Diane James.

Farage had stepped down after playing a prominent role in convincing British voters to part ways with the European Union in a landmark referendum in June. He said he wanted his life back after years of campaigning against EU membership.

“I have spoken to the Electoral Commission this morning and I am technically still leader of the party as Diane James’s forms did not get processed, so I will continue as the interim leader,” Farage said Wednesday.

He has ruled our running for a third term as party leader, though some observers think he may retain the post.

James threw the party into disarray by resigning only 18 days after she took over the role, citing personal and professional reasons and a lack of support from party members.

UKIP has been gripped by rancorous divisions within its ranks despite its prominent role in the successful referendum campaign. The upstart party has only one member in the British Parliament, despite winning 12.6 percent of the total vote in the 2015 elections.

The party’s executive committee plans an emergency meeting to set up a new competition for the leadership post.