September 14, 2015 / 12:02 PM / 2 years ago

Australia to get new PM as Abbott loses out to rival Turnbull

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia will get its fifth prime minister in eight years after the ruling Liberal Party on Monday voted out Tony Abbott in favor of longtime rival Malcolm Turnbull following months of speculation and crumbling support from voters.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers a lecture on "Our Common Challenges: Strengthening Security in the Region" in Singapore June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former banker and tech entrepreneur, won a secret party room vote by 54 to 44, Liberal Party whip Scott Buchholz told reporters after the meeting in Canberra.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was elected deputy leader of the party which, with junior coalition partner the National Party, won a landslide election in 2013.

Since then, the popularity of the government and Abbott in particular has suffered from a series of perceived policy missteps, destabilizing infighting and leaks.

The opposition Labor Party has consistently led opinion polls, while Turnbull has been consistently viewed as preferred prime minister.

Reporting by Matt Siegel and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Robert Birsel

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