Australian conservatives pick new leader

Other News Materials 16 September 2008 04:57 (UTC +04:00)

Liberal Party lawmakers meeting Tuesday in Canberra's Parliament House dumped struggling incumbent Brendan Nelson and elected treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull as their new leader.

Turnbull, 54, an ebullient former barrister and merchant banker who entered Parliament in 2004, went into the ballot free from the stigma of having called it. The margin of victory has yet to be announced.

Nelson, 51, had declared the position vacant in hopes of improving on the 45-42 margin he won over Turnbull in capturing the leadership nine months ago.

Nelson, a former general practitioner, has put his party further behind Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor than it was when it lost the general election in November under John Howard.

Rudd has enjoyed record support since driving Howard from office and out of Parliament, dpa reported.