Australia's National Party leader elected new deputy PM

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 26, 2018
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Michael McCormack [Photo/]

Conservative Michael McCormack has seen off a late challenge to be elected leader of the National Party of Australia and Deputy Prime Minister.

Nationals' Members of Parliament (MPs) voted for McCormack as their new leader at a party room meeting after former leader Barnaby Joyce tendered his resignation over his affair with a former staffer and sexual harassment allegations.

Despite deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie urging her colleagues to field only one leadership candidate, controversial MP George Christensen ran against McCormack but was defeated.

Addressing the media after his election as leader, McCormack described himself as a "team player" who would serve the interests of regional Australia.

"We will all work closely together because that is what the National party members do," he said.

"I would like to thank each and every single National party member for the faith they have shown in me and I want people to know that in me we have a fighter."

As part of the Liberal National Party (LNP) Coalition, the leader of the Nationals assumes the office of deputy prime minister when the party is in government.

In a statement, PM Malcolm Turnbull said he was "delighted" by the appointment.

"Michael McCormack is a strong advocate for rural Australia. He will continue his party's long tradition of standing up for farmers and all those living in regional Australia," Turnbull said.

"The Liberal Party has been in coalition with the Nationals for more than 70 years and our enduring and successful political partnership will continue under Michael's leadership of the National Party."

Despite resigning as party leader, Joyce intends to continue to serve in parliament as a backbencher. 

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