Australian Treasurer wins ballot to be next prime minister


CANBERRA (Reuters) - Treasurer Scott Morrison will become Australia’s new prime minister after winning a Liberal party leadership vote on Friday, ending an internecine battle that has scarred the conservative government ahead of an election due by May 2019.

Morrison’s victory, however, may not end the political uncertainty in Australia with outgoing prime minister Malcolm Turnbull saying he would resign from parliament, forcing a by-election and risking the government’s one-seat majority.
The Liberal party is the senior partner in the conservative Liberal-National coalition government that has consistently trailed opposition Labor in opinion polls in recent months. Bookmakers on Friday had Labor a favorite to win the next poll.

Morrison will be Australia’s sixth prime minister in less than 10 years after winning a three-way race with former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, who brought on the latest political crisis, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Turnbull, who called the leadership meeting after losing the majority support of the party, opted not to contest the vote. Turnbull told reporters after the vote he would leave parliament “not before too long”.

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