Prime Minister John Howard, trailing in national polls after 11 years in office, set national elections today for Nov. 24. Howard will run on the nation’s current economic boom, Reuters reports. His opponent, Labor leader Kevin Rudd, says he'll pull Australian troops out of Iraq, though domestic issues are expected to dominate at the polls.
Rudd, 50, also promises to sign the Kyoto climate pact, and reform health care and education. And he will hit Howard’s political Achilles heel—labor laws that cut benefits and made it easier to fire personnel. One analyst speculates it could cost Howard the election. “It has made people really insecure in what should be a time of prosperity and stability.”