Australia's Rudd concedes election defeat to conservative leader Abbott

CANBERRA Sat Sep 7, 2013 7:58am EDT

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CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's Labor party leader Kevin Rudd conceded defeat at national elections on Saturday, offering his congratulations to conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott who won a landslide victory, ending six years of turbulent Labor rule.

With voting 80 percent counted, Australia's electoral commission was projecting 81 seats to Abbott's Liberal-National coalition and 54 to Rudd's Labor party, with 12 seats undecided in the 150 seat lower house.

"I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight. As your Labor leader I accept it as my responsibility," said Rudd, as his supporters chanted "Kevin, Kevin, Kevin".

Rudd, dumped by his party in mid 2010, was returned as prime minister in late June in a bold bid to overturn a prolonged slump in opinion polls under Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister.

(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Michael Perry)

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