CANBERA, Australia (AP) – Kevin Rudd, who twice won and lost the leadership of Australia’s government during the past six years, is quitting politics.
Rudd first became prime minister after leading his center-left Labor Party to an election victory in 2007. He was deposed in an internal power struggle in 2010 and then returned to the nation’s leadership only months before a conservative coalition won power in September elections.
Rudd told Parliament on Wednesday he would quit his House of Representatives seat by the end of this week for family reasons. The 56-year-old lawmaker surprised many commentators who had expected him to remain in politics to make a third bid for power after the next elections due in 2016.
“My family have given their all for me in public life, and for the nation,” an emotional Rudd told Parliament. “And it is now time I gave something back to them.”
Rudd was ousted in 2010 by his deputy, Julia Gillard, in the face of declining public support. She became Australia’s first female prime minister. But her government colleagues turned against her in favor of Rudd in a leadership ballot in June after she failed to improve the party’s popularity.
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