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Australian gets PM in "brutal party coup"

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Scott Morrison is to be Australia’s new prime minister after Malcolm Turnbull was forced out by party rivals in a bruising leadership contest.

Mr. Turnbull had been under pressure from poor polling and what he described as an “insurgency” by conservative MPs. Mr. Morrison, the treasurer, won an internal ballot 45-40 over former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton – who had been Mr Turnbull’s most vocal threat.

Mr. Turnbull is the fourth Australian PM in a decade to be ousted by colleagues. “It has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation. I love Australia. I love Australians,” he said on Friday.

With an election looming, MPs were nervous about the government’s poor opinion polling and recent by-election defeats.

Last week, a row over energy policy ignited long-existing tensions between Mr Turnbull, a moderate, and his party’s conservative wing.

Malcolm Turnbull

Mr. Dutton, a conservative, then unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Turnbull on Tuesday, but his narrow defeat only stoked further discord. Mr. Morrison entered the race after Mr. Turnbull lost key backers.
After a majority of MPs called for a leadership “spill”, Mr. Turnbull agreed to step down. To further complicate matters, Mr. Turnbull has signalled he would resign from parliament, which would force a by-election and potentially put the government’s one-seat majority at risk and force the new premier to call early elections.
However, Mr. Morrison told reporters on Friday there were no plans to do this any time soon.His government, he said, would be in place by next week.sitting prime ministers deposed by party rivals.
Scott Morrison is new Australian PM as Turnbull is ousted

Not a single leader in recent times has succeeded in serving a full term as prime minister, partly because elections come around so often – every three years – two years less than in the UK. So in recent years, prime ministers unpopular in the polls – or with their colleagues – have been swiftly sacrificed from within.Dave Sharma, a former Australian diplomat, says “an election is always just around the corner, meaning members of parliament are forever focused on their electoral survival – and less so on the national interest”.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. Sharma says “the steady drip of opinion polls and the relentless media cycle exacerbates the short-termism”.
Under the Australian system, as in the UK, the prime minister is not directly elected by voters but is the leader of the party or coalition that can command a majority in parliament.
SourceBBC News

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