Julia Gillard resigned as prime minister of Australia Wednesday night after losing a ballot of ruling lawmakers to Kevin Rudd, and Rudd was sworn in on Thursday, three years and three days after he was ousted from the same job, according to the Associated Press.
Kevin Rudd's office could not immediately confirm whether Kevin Rudd would replace his predecessor Julia Gillard in a visit to Indonesia that had been scheduled for next week. Julia Gillard was dumped Wednesday by colleagues spooked by the party's dismal opinion polling.
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Governor-General Quentin Bryce commissioned Kevin Rudd within half an hour of Parliament resuming for what is likely to be its last day before elections.
"In 2007, the Australian people elected me to be their prime minister and that is a task I resume today with humility, with honor and with an important sense of energy and purpose," Kevin Rudd said Wednesday after he was elected Labor leader.
Anthony Albanese was sworn in as deputy prime minister and Chris Bowen was sworn in as treasurer during the same ceremony. Kevin Rudd has yet say when he will announce his complete Cabinet after seven ministers resigned following Julia Gillard's ouster.
Kevin Rudd faces a potential no-confidence vote in Parliament, which he will likely survive although a loss could trigger an election as early as Aug. 3.
Julia Gillard lost a ballot of ruling lawmakers to Rudd 57 votes to 45.
Kevin Rudd has given no indication of whether he would stick with an election date of Sept. 14 set under Julia Gillard.
Bryce revealed Julia Gillard took late-night legal advice on whether she should swear in Rudd.
A minority government such as Julia Gillard led has not been seen in Australian federal politics since World War II, and the ruling Labor Party's leadership change has raised unique constitutional questions.
While Kevin Rudd has the support of his party, he does not necessarily have the support of a majority of lawmakers in the 150-seat House of Representatives, which a prime minister must have.
Acting Solicitor-General Robert Orr wrote to Bryce that Rudd should be commissioned as prime minister.
Bryce's secretary Stephen Brady wrote that she wanted an assurance from Kevin Rudd "that he will announce his appointment at the first possible opportunity to the House of Representatives on order to give the House the opportunity for whatever, if any, action it chooses to take."
Kevin Rudd plans to make a statement on the subject to Parliament later Thursday.
Wednesday's leadership ballot was forced by government lawmakers hoping to avoid a huge defeat in upcoming elections.
Kevin Rudd had warned that Labor was facing its worst election defeat under Julia Gillard's leadership in the 111-year history of the Australian federation.
Julia Gillard lacked Kevin Rudd's charisma, and although many Labor lawmakers preferred her style, her deepening unpopularity among voters compelled a majority to seek a change ahead of looming elections.
Labor has depended on independents and a minor party for its fragile ruling coalition, but Rudd appeared capable of retaining it after two independent lawmakers who did not back Julia Gillard's government said they would support his.
"I will do my absolute best," Kevin Rudd told Bryce.
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