Prime Minister Julia Gillard has won leadership of the Labor Party in a ballot against opponent Kevin Rudd.
Ms Gillard received 71 votes, beating Mr Rudd’s 31 votes, in a meeting of the 102 caucus members in Parliament House today.
Labor MPs had been split in recent days over the leadership contest, which Ms Gillard had been tipped to win with at least two thirds of the vote.
Ms Gillard’s victory is the biggest win in a leadership ballot for 30 years.
Mr Rudd, who lost his position as prime minister to Ms Gillard in a surprise shake-up in 2010, resigned as foreign minister on Wednesday Feb 22. Mr Rudd announced on Friday Feb 24 that he would contest Ms Gillard’s leadership, despite comments the previous week that there was “no challenge on.”
“We have a prime minister, I am the foreign minister,” Mr Rudd told Sky News on Feb 19, just three days before his resignation.
Following his defeat, Mr Rudd said he would not contest the leadership again before the next election.
A Newspoll published earlier today showed that 53 per cent of respondents prefer Mr Rudd over Ms Gillard, who received support from only 28 per cent of respondents.