Julia Gillard challenges Kevin Rudd to ballot to settle Australian leadership issue (VIDEO)

Sydney, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a formal leadership ballot to take place at 10 a.m. on Monday, Australian east coast time.

The ballot will allow lawmakers to decide whether Gillard should continue to lead the ruling Labor Party or former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, also a former Prime Minister, should replace her.

She said the ballot had been forced by Rudd's "long running destabilization campaign" and would settle the matter "once and for all," according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

She said she would retreat to the parliamentary "backbench", along with other elected members of parliament who do not have ministerial portfolios, if she lost the ballot, and would not recontest the prime ministership, while seeking the same commitment from Rudd.

"I expect to receive the support of my colleagues," the Prime Minister told reporters in Adelaide, according to The Australian.

"If I do not receive the support of my colleagues I want to make it clear that I will go to the back bench and renounce any leadership ambitions.

"I anticipate that Kevin Rudd will be a contender in the leadership ballot and I ask him to give the same undertakings that he will go to the back bench and renounce leadership ambitions."

Rudd, meantime, speaking from the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington D.C., where he had been attending meetings as Foreign Minister before abruptly resigning Tuesday night, said that he had been encouraged by the support of senior Labor party colleagues to contest for the leadership of the party.

(GlobalPost: Kevin Rudd, former Aussie foreign minister, plots his next move from a Washington DC hotel room)

"I am very pleased and encouraged by the amount of positive support encouraging me to contest the leadership of the Labor party," he said, Sky News reported.

"I do not believe Prime Minister Gillard can lead the Australian Labor Party to success in the next election," he continued.

"That is a deep belief and I believe also a view shared right across the Australian community."

Rudd did not formally accept Gillard's challenge to take part in a leadership ballot, saying instead that he would "declare my position on the future of the ALP leadership on my return to Australia."

However, in what Sky called a clear pitch to Labor Party members, Rudd cited his record as prime minister.

"Remember it's through that period of government when I had the privilege of being prime minister that singly Australia got through the global financial crisis without going into recession and without generating mass unemployment," he said.

Gillard, for her part, sought to remind them of Rudd's "chaotic" and "dysfunctional" work patterns, a reference to the numerous criticisms of Rudd as an autocratic and uncooperative party leader and Prime Minister.

His government had been focused on the "next news cycle, the next picture opportunity," Gillard said, The Australian reported.

She Gillard also said that with her as Labor leader, "I believe that we can win the next election and defeat Tony Abbott."

She added: "I believe I can lead Labor to that victory provided that the Labor Party unites and we get on with the job."

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