Australia: Barnaby Joyce steps down as deputy prime minister | News | DW | 23.02.2018
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Australia: Barnaby Joyce steps down as deputy prime minister

An affair with a younger staffer and a sexual misconduct complaint sparked calls for Joyce's resignation. The conservative lawmaker will remain in the Australian Parliament after he formally resigns on Monday.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Friday he would step down following controversy about a sexual harassment complaint and an extramarital affair.

Joyce, whose National Party is the junior partner in a coalition government with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal Party, said he would formally resign as both deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party on Monday.

The move follows confirmation from the National Party on Thursday of a sexual harassment complaint against Joyce. The 50-year-old lawmaker denied he had done anything wrong.

Read more: Australia: Extra-marital affair strains coalition

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Joyce: 'I'm going to get back to work' (2017)

Joyce had already been facing pressure to resign after it was revealed he had slept with a 33-year-old former media secretary, who is expecting their child in April.

Joyce is a practicing Catholic and his electoral platforms have focused on promoting "family values." The resulting scandal led the government to a ban on government ministers having sex with their staff.

On Friday, Joyce said he would remain a member of parliament, which would ensure Turnbull's center-right government clings onto a one-seat majority.

"This partnership [between the Nationals and Liberals] is undiminished and will continue to deliver opportunity and security for all Australians," Turnbull said after Joyce's announcement.

The National Party is set to elect a new leader on Monday. The winner will automatically become deputy prime minister under the terms of the coalition agreement with the Liberal Party.

Read more: Australia bans sexual relations between government ministers and staff

amp/sms (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)

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