Australian Foreign Minister resigns amid leadership crisis

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 22, 2012 1:44 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd resigned Wednesday amid speculation he was going to mount a bid to topple Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Rudd told a news conference in Washington he would return to Australia this week before deciding his future, but ended his announcement asking his ruling Labor party colleagues "who is best placed to defeat (opposition leader) Tony Abbott at the next election?."

Gillard toppled Rudd in a party room coup in 2010.

Gillard's minority government is struggling to regain voter support and would be thrown from office if an election was held now. Australia's next national election is due in 2013.

(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Michael Perry)