“Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership ballot for Feb. 27, setting up a second showdown with her predecessor Kevin Rudd as weeks of escalating tension damage the Labor government.
“We need a leadership ballot in order to settle this question once and for all,” Gillard, the nation’s first female prime minister, said at a press conference in Adelaide, after Rudd yesterday resigned as foreign minister. “For far too long we have seen squabbling within the Labor party which has obscured the government’s achievements.”
The move aims to bring to a head 11 days of escalating rivalry between Gillard and Rudd, as opinion polls show Labor’s popularity is hovering near a record low. Gillard said there had been a long-running campaign to undermine her government and that she is best-placed to lead Labor to victory against opposition leader Tony Abbott in [the 2013] elections.” — Jason Scott and Jacob Greber, Copyright 2012 Bloomberg LP