CANBERRA, June 26 Australia's former leader
Kevin Rudd toppled Julia Gillard to return as prime minister on
Wednesday, reclaiming the job on his third attempt and with
elections less than three months away.
The vote of Labor Party lawmakers followed months of
destabilising leadership speculation, fuelled by opinion polls
pointing to an election wipeout for Labor against the
Conservative Opposition headed by Tony Abbott.
Rudd's dramatic return as prime minister came almost three
years to the day after he was dumped in favour of Gillard, who
was Australia's first female prime minister, and following two
aborted leadership attempts, the most recent in March.
Rudd was elected prime minister in November 2007 and his
government helped Australia avoid recession during the 2008
global financial crisis, although he struggled to pass key
reforms through parliament.
Rudd won the ballot of Labor Party lawmakers by 57 votes to
(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)