Aussie PM Survives Leadership Challenge

Gillard fends off Rudd bid to regain power

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2012 2:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Julia Gillard has fought off a challenge from the man she ousted in 2010 and will remain as leader of the Labor Party and prime minister of Australia. She beat Kevin Rudd 71 votes to 31 in a leadership ballot, ending months of political strife that saw Rudd resign as foreign minister last week. Rudd—who warned that keeping Gillard in charge would doom the party to certain defeat in elections next year—said it was time for the party to heal its wounds.

"Today I want to say to Australians one and all: This issue, the leadership question, is now determined," Gillard told reporters, describing the victory as "overwhelming" after months of "ugly" infighting. "I can assure you that this political drama is over." Gillard has won the support of her party but she has a long way to go with the Australian public, the Guardian notes: The latest poll shows that Aussies, by a margin of 53% to 28% would prefer Rudd as their prime minister.

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks at a media conference after losing the leadership challenge.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks at a media conference after losing the leadership challenge.   (AP Photo/Andrew Taylor)
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard holds a media conference after winning a leadership challenge in Canberra, Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard holds a media conference after winning a leadership challenge in Canberra, Australia.   (AP Photo/Andrew Taylor)
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