Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:40 am
In a move designed to salvage upcoming elections, Australia's Labor Party ousted Prime Minister Julia Gillard in favor of Kevin Rudd.
"Rudd, a former diplomat who speaks Mandarin, won a Labor Party ballot with 57 votes to Gillard's 45. Gillard promised to quit politics if she lost the ballot.
"The leadership change followed a series of opinion polls showing Gillard's minority government could lose up to 35 seats at the looming elections, giving the conservative opposition a massive majority in the 150-member parliament.
"But polls also show Rudd is more popular with voters and his return to the prime ministership, which he lost to Gillard in June 2010, could stem the size of Labor's election loss."
Following the vote, Gillard gave an emotional televised speech, saying she respected the decision of her party.
She also addressed the fact that she was Australia's first female prime minister. Her gender, she said, "doesn't explain everything, but it doesn't explain nothing."
But, she said, one thing is for sure: "It will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that."
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rudd said his premiership would not be marked by retribution against the Gillard camp.
"If I win this ballot, every effort I have in my being will be dedicated to uniting the Australian Labor Party. No retributions, no paybacks, none of that stuff. It's pointless, it's old politics," he said according to the newspaper.