Australia's former leader Kevin Rudd has won a Labor Party leadership vote over Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in a move expected to result in the country's first female leader quitting politics.
Mr. Rudd won the support his fellow lawmakers 57 to 45 in a caucus vote Wednesday, meaning he will lead the party into September general elections in which it is expected to suffer heavy losses.
Mrs. Gillard challenged Mr. Rudd to the snap vote earlier Wednesday, promising to resign from politics if she lost. She made no immediate comment following the vote. She is expected to resign Thursday, with Mr. Rudd replacing her as prime minister.
The move comes after Mr. Rudd's supporters were said to be preparing a separate party caucus in an attempt to oust Mrs. Gillard, who was the country's first female prime minister.
Mr. Rudd served as prime minister from November 2007 until June 2010, when was ousted by Mrs. Gillard.
Opinion polls show the Labor Party will lose heavily to the conservative opposition in the upcoming election. They also suggest that Mr. Rudd may be a more popular leader than Mrs. Gillard and could help the party hold on to more seats in the vote.
Analysts will now be watching to see if elections will be called early, possibly in August, in an attempt to capitalize on Mr. Rudd's popularity.