New York Times
June 24, 2010

SYDNEY, Australia – Faced with a revolt from within his own governing party, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stepped down on Thursday morning. Party officials decided to replace him with his deputy, Julia Gillard, who was sworn in a few hours later as the nation’s first female prime minister.

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Mr. Rudd, who faced rising opposition from within his own center-left Labor Party, ceded control of the party’s leadership to Ms. Gillard in the capital, Canberra. Mr. Rudd, who once enjoyed the highest approval ratings in Australian history, became the shortest serving prime minister in nearly 40 years and one of a handful to be thrown from office before completing one term.

Ms. Gillard had insisted for months that she was not interested in challenging Mr. Rudd for the leadership. She said Thursday that she had decided to contest the leadership because she felt that “a good government was losing its way.”

“My values and beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as prime minister,” she told reporters. “I will lead a strong and responsible government that will take control of our future.”


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