Australia: Rudd challenges Gillard for leadership

Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd as Australian prime minister in June 2010 in an internal party coup.

Updated: Feb 24, 2012, 10:13 AM IST

Sydney: Australia`s former foreign minister Kevin Rudd announced on Friday that he will challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for leadership of their party and the country amid a bitter power struggle that has been brewing for weeks.

Gillard is planning a leadership ballot for Monday — an effort by the Prime Minister to knock down Rudd`s ambitions to grab back power. Gillard ousted Rudd as prime minister in June 2010 in an internal party coup, and their centre-left Labor Party scraped through elections later that year to lead a minority government.

"It`s no secret that our government has a lot of work to do if it is to regain the confidence of the Australian people," Rudd said. "Starting on Monday, I`m going to start restoring that trust."

Rudd resigned as foreign minister during a trip to the US earlier this week, saying he could not continue in his role without the support of the prime minister.

Gillard has said she will abandon her leadership ambitions if Labor lawmakers choose Rudd over her Monday, and she called on Rudd to do the same if he loses.

Bureau Report