Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been ousted by former Australian leader Kevin Rudd in an internal party leadership ballot. Before the vote, Gillard promised to retire from politics if she lost.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd won a leadership ballot Wednesday in the Labor Party caucus with 57 votes to 45 against Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Gillard, who ousted Rudd three years ago, called for the vote in response to reports that Rudd's supporters were pushing for a challenge. Opinion polls show that the party could face a huge defeat by the Tony Abbott-led conservatives in elections set for September.
"Many, many MPs have requested me for a long, long time to contest the leadership of the party because of the parlous circumstances we now face," Rudd said before the ballot.
Prior to the leadership ballot, both Gillard and Rudd agreed that they would quit politics if they lost.
In a 2012 ballot, Gillard easily defeated Rudd 71 votes to 31. In February, she held a leadership vote to end speculation, but Rudd did not challenge her and she remained prime minister.
hc/rg (AP, AFP)