Australia to get new PM as Abbott loses out to rival Turnbull

Ruling Liberal Party votes out Tony Abbott in favour of rival Malcolm Turnbull following months of crumbling support

Reuters September 14, 2015
Malcolm Turnbull, former Liberal Party leader and the communications spokesman for the Liberal-led coalition. PHOTO: REUTERS

CANBERRA: Australia will get its fifth prime minister in eight years after the ruling Liberal Party on Monday voted out Tony Abbott in favour of longtime rival Malcolm Turnbull following months of speculation and crumbling support from voters.

Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former banker and tech entrepreneur, won a secret party room vote by 54 to 44, Liberal Party whip Scott Buchholz told reporters after the meeting in Canberra.

Read: Australian PM Abbott faces new leadership challenge

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was elected deputy leader of the party which, with junior coalition partner the National Party, won a landslide election in 2013.

Since then, the popularity of the government and Abbott in particular has suffered from a series of perceived policy missteps, destabilising infighting and leaks.

The opposition Labor Party has consistently led opinion polls, while Turnbull has been consistently viewed as preferred prime minister.

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