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PM should confront Kevin Rudd over leadership challenge: senior minister

(Xinhua)

13:34, February 20, 2012

CANBERRA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Amid possible leadership challenge, senior minister and former Labor leader Simon Crean said on Monday that Julia Gillard should confront Kevin Rudd over the challenge.

If the foreign minister thought he had the numbers to topple Gillard as prime minister, he would launch a challenge, Crean said. "If he can't be part of the team, he should exit the team or challenge."

Crean, the regional development minister, said in a TV interview that Rudd was failing to convince Labor MPs of the need to reinstate him as prime minister.

Though he has been always saying he is different and new, he is still performing the "old Kevin".

It's been weeks when local media reported that Rudd will launch a possible leadership challenge over Gillard, while the latter looks reluctant to act back.

One suggested reason is that if Rudd quits politics, it will be forced to hold a by-election, which Labor could lose. That could potentially bring down the government.

Crean said no loyal Labor MP would knowingly trigger a by- election in the current circumstances of minority government.

Over the weekend, a leaked YouTube video showing Rudd when he was prime minister delivering a foul-mouthed rant surprised the public. He lost his temper and hit heavily in the footage. Crean showed sympathy for Rudd but said those who knew him were not surprised by the footage.

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