Kevin Rudd shuns Australia party leadership vote

Portret użytkownika amith

Kevin Rudd has shunned a leadership ballot called by Australian PM Julia Gillard amid debate over who should lead Labor into September's election.

Ms Gillard called the vote after a senior MP said the issue had to be resolved as it was "killing" the party.

But Mr Rudd, who has the support of a number of MPs, said he was keeping a promise not to mount a challenge.

Ms Gillard was elected unopposed, with no actual vote called.

Polls show Mr Rudd has more public support than Ms Gillard, who looks set to lose the election to the Liberal Party's Tony Abbott.

The ballot, which also followed days of speculation over the leadership, had been scheduled for 16:30 (05:30 GMT), but minutes before it was due to take place Mr Rudd made his intentions known.

"I believe in honouring my word... others take such commitments lightly, I do not," he said in reference to an earlier pledge not to challenge.

"I have also said that the only circumstances under which I would consider a return to leadership would be if there was an overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party requesting such a return, drafting me to return and the position was vacant," he went on.

"I am here to inform you that those circumstances do not exist."

Mr Rudd has remained a thorn in Ms Gillard's side since she ousted him as prime minister in 2010.

He challenged her for the party leadership in February 2012, but lost by 31 votes to 71.

In recent weeks, however, local media reports had suggested he was closer to marshalling the numbers needed for victory.

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