TORONTO, Ont. – Former education minister Kathleen Wynne has won the race to become the new Ontario Liberal party leader.

The 59-year-old Toronto politician will be the province’s first female and openly gay premier.

She will replace Premier Dalton McGuinty who announced his surprise resignation in October and prorogued the parliament.

Wynne had been lagging behind former cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello in the first and second ballots, but with the backing of three rivals who dropped out, she emerged as the clean winner with 1,150 votes.

Eric Hoskins, Charles Sousa and Gerard Kennedy — who also ran and lost to McGuinty in the last leadership convention in 1996 — all backed Wynne.

Harinder Takhar — widely seen as a stalking horse for Pupatello — dropped out after the first ballot to throw his support behind her.