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Gillard Calls Ballot for Leadership of Australian Labor Party

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard, Australia's prime minister. Photographer: Mark Graham/Bloomberg

Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a ballot for the leadership of the Labor party, after a senior member of her government said it can’t win elections due in six months from its current position.

The ballot of the 102-member Labor caucus for a new leader and deputy leader of the governing party will take place at 4:30 p.m. local time in Canberra today, Gillard told parliament.

Simon Crean, who led Labor in the early 2000s, earlier urged former leader Kevin Rudd to stand against Gillard and said he will stand for the deputy position. Speculation about a challenge to Gillard intensified in recent weeks after she announced Sept. 14 as the election date and polls forecast that Labor under Rudd would win.

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