The Green Party will unveil its new leader in England and Wales today, following the decision of Green MP Caroline Lucas to step aside as head of her party. The contest was launched when the Brighton Pavilion MP announced she would not run for leader again following the end of her second two-year term.
Deputy leader Adrian Ramsay also stood down and will be replaced. Ms Lucas, who became her party's first and only MP after election to the Commons in 2010, said she wanted to give the opportunity for more of the Greens' talent to come to the fore.
Ballots closed on Friday, with party members choosing between Natalie Bennett, Pippa Bartolotti, Peter Cranie and Romayne Phoenix for leader. The deputy leader contenders are Caroline Allen, Will Duckworth, Richard Mallender and Alexandra Phillips.
Mr Cranie, who has been backed by the current deputy leader, is thought to be favourite to take the leadership. Green Party equality rules mean of the two posts, a man and a woman must be elected. The new Green Party leader will head straight into the party's autumn conference, taking place in Bristol from Friday.
Green Party policy is determined by delegate votes at the conference and both the winners will speak at the event in Council House, Bristol. The party is due to debate its solutions to the financial crisis, a four-point approach dubbed "economic democracy".
Proposals include increasing company accountability by mandating employee-elected directors and giving employees a majority stake in company pension funds. The leadership race follows the party finishing third in the high-profile London Mayor race with Jenny Jones. The Greens also have two MEPs, two London assembly members, and 135 councillors across England.
The Greens run Brighton and Hove City Council as a minority and are the main opposition on Norwich City Council. After announcing her decision to stand aside in May, Ms Lucas said she would continue as MP for Brighton Pavilion "putting the Green case for change in Parliament".
Originally an activist with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ms Lucas joined the Greens in 1986. In 1993 she achieved her first electoral success when she won the party's second UK council seat, in Oxford. That was followed by election to the European Parliament in the South East England Region in 1999 - a seat she held until giving it up after her election to Westminster.