Australia’s ruling party has elected Treasurer Scott Morrison as the next prime minister in a ballot that continues an era of extraordinary political instability.
Mr Morrison defeated the key challenger Peter Dutton, a former Cabinet minister, by a vote of 45-40.
Mr Dutton’s supporters had forced incumbent prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to hold the leadership ballot.
Mr Turnbull did not contest the ballot and has said he will quit politics.
Friday’s ballot by the Liberal Party means Australia will see its sixth change of prime minister in 11 years.
Mr Turnbull had demanded the names of his party’s politicians who wanted him to go before allowing the meeting at Parliament House in Canberra. It started at about midday on Friday after the 43 signatures were verified.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had been among the favourites to win the leadership ballot and could have become Australia’s second female prime minister, but she was rejected on the first round of voting.
Mr Turnbull has become the fourth prime minister to be dumped by his or her own party before serving a full three-year term since the revolving door to the prime minister’s office started in 2010. The trend is universally hated by Australians.
Mr Dutton’s and Mr Turnbull’s camps waged the most chaotic, frenetic and at times farcical leadership struggle that Australian politics has seen in years, closing down Parliament on Thursday and damaging the Liberal Party’s credibility.
Public anger became apparent overnight with windows broken at the Brisbane office of Mr Dutton, Mr Turnbull’s main rival in his government.
But the extent of disquiet about Mr Turnbull’s leadership proved to be exaggerated by many Dutton supporters. Of the 85 politicians at Friday’s meeting, 40 opted for no change.