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Asia-Pacific

Australia has first female Prime Minister

media Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (left) walks with Governor General … Reuters

Australia appointed its first female Prime Minister on Thursday after the former PM Kevin Rudd stood aside from a party ballot. Julia Gillard was elected in a surprise Labour party ballot called just hours earlier.

The change in the leadership of the ruling Labour Party comes just months ahead of a general election. Kevin Rudd stood aside from a party ballot after his leadership suffered a major dip in popularity.

"I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change because I believe that a good government was losing its way... and at risk at the next election," Gillard said. "I was not going to sit idly by."

Reports of a leadership change surfaced only late on Wednesday, when Rudd emerged from talks with Gillard to announce the surprise parliamentary party vote on Thursday.
 

 
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