Analysis

Australia: Political Turmoil Will Continue After Gillard’s Victory
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (left) speaks to the media today after she fended off a leadership challenge from fellow Labor Party member and former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd (center). Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Tony Abbot (right) hopes to use the dispute to win parliamentary elections that must be held by 2013. (Photos by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)
February 27, 2012
| Economics
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
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In Australia today, Prime Minister Julia Gillard defeated a challenge to her leadership from within the Labor Party by Kevin Rudd, the foreign minister, who abruptly resigned from his post last week to run against her. Gillard captured 71 votes in the Labor caucus held to decide the issue versus only 31 for Rudd. Given Gillard’s wide margin of victory, it might seem that Rudd badly miscalculated in taking her on, but appearances can be deceiving, as LIGNET explains in this analysis.

LIGNET believes that Rudd, like a shrewd chess player who sacrifices a pawn to win the end game, knew all along he would lose today’s leadership contest with Gillard. His plan is not to unseat her now, but rather to begin a long-term campaign to undermine her leadership so that the Labor Party will eventually have to turn to him if it wants to defeat Tony Abbott and the conservative opposition in the general election. That contest must be held by 2013, and a recent poll suggests that Labor is on track to lose with Gillard as prime minister.

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