Australia will get its fourth prime minister in three years after a shocking late night vote ended the rule of Tony Abbott as leader of the governing center-right Liberal Party.
According to the BBC, Abbott will be replaced as Prime Minister by the more moderate Malcolm Turnbull.
Turnbull defeated Abbott 54 votes to 44 in a party room vote.
Turnbull will become prime minister after Abbott sends his resignation letter to the governor-general.
In a statement made earlier in the day, Turnbull made clear his intentions to challenge Abbott.
“Now this is not a decision that anyone could take lightly. I have consulted with many, many colleagues; many Australians; many of our supporters, in every walk of life. And this course of action has been urged on me by many people over a long period of time,” Turnbull said. “It is clear enough that the Government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need. It is not the fault of individual ministers, ultimately the Prime Minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs; he has not been capable of providing the economic confidence that business needs.”
Abbott seemed flat-footed in his response to the snap leadership election, as many in his team did not even acknowledge it would happen until hours before the final vote took place.
Abbott has been prime minister since 2013.
WATCH: Malcolm Turnbull speaks after winning Liberal Leadership Snap election.
A Tweet sent earlier in the day on September 14 showed how unprepared Abbott was for the vote:
Getting on with the job of delivering the Northern Connector in Adelaide – more jobs & less congestion on SA roads pic.twitter.com/DHnBMigSs1
— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) September 14, 2015
Turnbull is more progressive than Abbott and many others in the Liberal Party. He supports gay marriage, believes in the existence of climate change.
Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States and Democratic Party candidate for President in 2000 seemed to celebrate the change of Australian leadership in a Tweet.
New PM offers fresh opportunity for Australia to stand beside the US and China in a leadership position going into #COP21
— Al Gore (@algore) September 14, 2015
Some in the Australian press are having fun with the situation. The right leaning Herald Sun had to change their front page after the results were announced.
So @theheraldsun re-thinks its initial front page.. #libspill #returnbull @rupertmurdoch pic.twitter.com/iajWbQ2Qb2 — Auskar Surbakti (@AuskarSurbakti) September 14, 2015
Even Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson signaled his support for Turnbull after the vote.
Congrats @turnbullmalcolm. I wish you all the best and hope social progress & good governance follow. pic.twitter.com/Kvcit3TPE3
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) September 14, 2015
This is a developing story. We will update this story as more information becomes available. Cover Photo Credit: Clare Wilkinson/Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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