August 24, 2018 / 3:00 AM / 3 months ago

Treasurer Scott Morrison to become Australia's next prime minister

CANBERRA, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Treasurer Scott Morrison will be Australia’s new prime minister after winning a three-way battle for the leadership of the Liberal party on Friday, with incumbent Malcolm Turnbull not contesting the party ballot.

There were three contenders in the leadership vote: former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, who narrowly lost a leadership vote against Turnbull on Tuesday, Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

The Liberal party is the senior partner in the ruling conservative coalition that will face an election by May 2019. The Liberal-National government has consistently trailed the opposition Labor party in opinion polls.

If Turnbull resigns from parliament, he would leave the new government facing a by-election for his Sydney seat that could see it lose its one-seat majority. Turnbull said on Thursday he believed that former prime ministers are best out of the parliament. (Reporting by Colin Packham Editing by Michael Perry and Paul Tait)

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