HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin says he was convicted of drunk driving in 2003 and was cleared of a second drunk-driving charge in 2005.

The 38-year-old premier made the announcement Monday, as speculation increases that an election call is imminent.

Rankin told reporters he wanted to disclose his run-ins with the law because his office has been receiving inquiries about the cases.

The premier says he was fined and his licence was suspended in 2003 for driving while impaired, and that he was charged two years later with the same offence but was declared innocent.

He says his actions were "selfish" and he's "very, very sorry" for his behaviour.

Rankin says when he ran for office, he disclosed the incidents to former premier Stephen McNeil, and that he informed the Liberal party about them when he ran for leader.

"I moved on with my life, but it is known in my community where I grew up, in Timberlea-Prospect, and among all my friend groups," Rankin said. "Whenever I was asked, I never shied away (from discussing) that very poor decision I made."

Former NDP leader Robert Chisholm suffered political damage after he disclosed during the 1999 provincial campaign that he had been convicted of drunk driving at the age of 19. Critics accused him of attempting to conceal the conviction.

Chisholm resigned shortly after the 1999 election but the party eventually won the 2009 Nova Scotia election under Darrell Dexter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2021.