Aussie PM ousted in a palace coup

Tony Abbot

Tony Abbot

CANBERRA. – Australia is to have a new prime minister after Tony Abbott was ousted as leader of the centre-right Liberal Party by Malcolm Turnbull. In the hastily arranged party leadership ballot, Mr Abbott, who had been plagued by poor opinion polls, received 44 votes to Turnbull’s 54.

Turnbull said he assumed that parliament would serve its full term, implying no snap general election. The new leader will be Australia’s fourth prime minister since 2013. The prime minister-elect is expected to be sworn in after Abbott writes to Australia’s governor general and resigns.

The vote took place at a meeting of Liberal MPs late yesterday. They also voted for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to remain deputy leader of the party. Speaking after the result was announced, Turnbull praised his predecessor for his “formidable achievements” as prime minister.

The new party leader said Australia needed to have “the economic vision, a leadership, that explains the great challenges and opportunities we face”. He said he would lead “a thoroughly Liberal government, committed to freedom, the individual and the market”.

Who is Malcolm Turnbull?

Served as Minister for Communications under Abbott, before resigning to launch a leadership challenge

Many in his party dislike his support for climate change action and gay marriage

Led the Liberal Party in opposition from 2008-2009 — but lost a leadership challenge to Mr Abbott by one vote Previously worked as a successful lawyer and businessman — defending former British spy Peter Wright in the Image caption Malcolm Turnbull will be Australia’s fourth prime minister since 2013

Earlier yesterday, Turnbull had said if Abbott remained as leader, the coalition government would lose the next election.

He said he had not taken the decision lightly, but that it was “clear enough that the government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need”.

The last Australian prime minister to serve a full term was John Howard, who left power in 2007.

Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard was ousted by rival Kevin Rudd in a leadership vote in June 2013 – months before a general election won by Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party.

Gillard herself had ousted Rudd as prime minister in 2010. – BBC.