Polls Predict Rout for Australian PM

Likely winner of Saturday's election will take troops from Iraq
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 8:30 PM CST
Australian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader John Howard, left, and opposition Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd shake hands at the start of the Leaders Debate in Canberra, Australian Sunday, Oct 21,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Australians elect a new government this Saturday, and polls foresee the fall of John Howard, the once-invincible prime minister who has served for 11 years. Kevin Rudd, the Labor Party leader 20 years Howard's junior, has promised to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq and to "shift up a gear" as the Australian economic miracle recedes. With days to go, Howard continues to warn that a Labor win would slow the country's economic boom.

With Labor enjoying a 54%-46% lead, Howard's Liberals are attempting to invalidate the candidacies of 13 prospective Labor MPs on a technicality, which Labor called "baseless, desperate and ridiculous." The campaign has turned bitterly personal, with Howard's foreign minister accusing Rudd of having a "cocky little smirk." All Australian adults are required by law to vote in Saturday's election.