Australian deputy prime minister survives leadership challenge

Australian deputy prime minister survives leadership challenge

Michael McCormack
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack survives a leadership challenge. (AAP/via REUTERS)

SYDNEY: Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack on Tuesday (Feb 4) survived a leadership challenge in a party room vote of the National Party - the junior partner in Australia's coalition government.

McCormack defeated former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce in a vote of the party's 21 lawmakers.

McCormack's victory is a boost for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who Joyce had promised to seek more concessions from in order to keep the Nationals' support. The junior coalition party has a strong voter base in rural and regional Australia.

"We will continue as a united team to put the people of regional Australia first and foremost. I want to thank my colleagues for again putting their faith in me," McCormack told reporters in Canberra.

The margin of victory was not disclosed, although local media reported McCormack retained his position by a single vote.

Should the result be confirmed, another leadership challenge could occur in the coming months, analysts have said.

Source: Reuters/de

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