Rudd vows full support for Australian PM Gillard

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  • Monday, February 27, 2012
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    Former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
    CANBERRA, February 27, 2012 (AFP) - Defeated challenger Kevin Rudd on Monday vowed to fully support Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard after losing a leadership ballot, adding that he bore no grudges.
    Former leader Rudd was crushed by Gillard in a ballot for the leadership of the ruling Labor party 71-31 in a secret vote of the caucus.
    "To Julia, I accept fully the verdict of the caucus and I dedicate myself to working fully for her re-election as prime minister of Australia," said Rudd, who will now retire to the backbench.
    He added that it was now time for the Labor party to move forward.
    "Our purpose is to serve the nation, not ourselves," he said.
    Gillard called the vote in a bid to end a bitter standoff with her predecessor, whom she dumped as leader in 2010 in a shock party coup, and bring to a head a period of intense turmoil within Labor.
    Rudd dramatically quit as foreign minister last week before announcing a challenge for the top job, believing that he alone could save Labor from electoral annihilation in 2013.
    Since then his reputation has been savaged by senior ministers, but Rudd said he bore no ill-feeling.
    "I bear no grudges. I bear no one any malice. And if I have done wrong to anyone in what I have said or what I have done, to them I apologise," he said.a


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