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B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver answers questions following the budget at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

VICTORIA -- B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver will not run in the next provincial election and has asked the party to begin its search for a new leader.

The MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head will not be resigning his seat in the meantime, so the move will not alter the balance of power at the B.C. legislature.

Weaver's Greens hold three seats and support the 41-seat NDP government against the Opposition Liberals, who hold 42 seats.

Weaver said he intends to remain on as leader until a replacement is chosen, which he expects to happen by early next summer.

Last month Weaver was taken to hospital and diagnosed with labyrinthitis, an inflammation of part of the inner ear that helps control balance.

Weaver said on Sept. 16 that he was expected to make a full recovery within weeks, but added that he would reduce his workload and limit his appearances at public events.

“The decision not to run for re-election has not been easy for me," Weaver said Monday.

"I feel a deep responsibility and pride for the role the B.C. Greens have played in getting the province back on track to meet its climate commitments and to reframe climate change as an economic opportunity – instead of a purely environmental catastrophe.”

The 57-year-old Weaver is an internationally recognized climate scientist who was first elected to the legislature in 2013.

He has been a University of Victoria professor for more than 20 years and has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers.

He became leader of the party in 2015 after becoming the first Green to win a seat in the legislature.