Australia's Prime Minister agrees to hold party leadership vote
CANBERRA (AFP, REUTERS) - Australia's ruling Labor Party will hold a special meeting to vote on its leadership later on Thursday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Parliament. She said the meeting would vote on the positions of prime minister and deputy prime minister.
The ballot is meant to end destabilisation from lawmakers who want former prime minister Kevin Rudd to return as their leader to arrest a slump in opinion polls, which have the conservative opposition consistently ahead of the centre-left government. A general election had previously been called for Sept 14.
The Australian government plunged into a crisis on Thursday after a senior Cabinet minister openly called for Ms Gillard to hold a leadership ballot.
Ms Gillard lags badly in opinion polls just six months out from national elections, and rampant leadership speculation has destabilised the Labor party further, with former leader Rudd waiting in the wings.