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Australians decide Howard's fate at ballot box

Australians cast votes to decide whether to re-elect Prime Minister John Howard for a fifth term or oust him in favour of rival Kevin Rudd.

world Updated: Nov 24, 2007 11:03 IST
AFP

Australians went to the polls on Saturday to decide whether to re-elect Prime Minister John Howard for a fifth term or oust him in favour of rival Kevin Rudd, ending 11 years of conservative rule.

The first ballots were cast from 8:00 am (0230 IST on Saturday) in the east of the country in a contest that could see US President George W Bush's stalwart ally either elected to a fifth term or kicked unceremoniously out of office.

The vote that opinion polls have long billed as a likely landslide for Rudd's centre-left Laboudd's commanding lead.

As 13.5 million voters in a nation of 21 million began filling out ballot papers from Australia's remote outback to its bustling cities and the icy wastes of Antarctica, Howard said he was confident of victory.

First Published: Nov 24, 2007 10:54 IST