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Australian Prime Minister could resign as soon as Friday

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Staff Writer | August 23, 2018
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could stand down by the end of the week.
Malcolm Turnbull
Australia   Turnbull himself came to power following his own revolt
Turnbull clung to power earlier in the week after Liberal Party rebels pushed for a second leadership challenge just twenty-four hours after the PM dodged a challenge from former home minister Peter Dutton.

The PM won a parliamentary vote by 48 to 35 on Tuesday, but Turnbull announced on Thursday evening that he would hold a party vote on Friday if he received a letter with the requisite 43 signatories in support of the challenge.

Calling it an "internal insurgency," Turnbull vowed to resign from Parliament if he was deposed.

"The public hate what is going on at the moment," said Turnbull. "They want everyone here to be focused on them."

If Turnbull is replaced, whoever takes the top job will be Australia's sixth prime minister in the last decade.

Three senior frontbenchers resigned on Thursday and the government suspended parliament to try and solve the crisis.

Adding insult to injury, Dutton, the man seen as the frontrunner to replace Turnbull, may not even be eligible to sit in parliament, let alone hold its highest office, given his ownership via a trust of several childcare centres that receive government funding.

Deriding the coup, Turnbull said Australians were "rightly appalled by what they are witnessing in their nation's parliament today."

However, Turnbull himself came to power following his own revolt against former PM Tony Abbott, who has remained on the backbenches since, periodically taking shots at his successor.