Australia’s new prime minister has announced snap elections to be held next month.
Julia Gillard’s announcement comes just three weeks after she took over the governing Labour Party from ousted leader Kevin Rudd.
The change of leadership has boosted support for the party, which has inched ahead of the conservative opposition Liberal Party in the polls.
“This is my commitment to Australia. Under my leadership, we will move forward, we will move forward together with a sustainable Australia, a stronger economy, budgets in surplus and world class health and education services,” said Gillard.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott is hoping his tough stance on the economy and immigration will win over undecided voters.
“The only way to change for the better is to change the government. Only a coalition government can end the spin and incompetence which marked the Rudd-Gillard government,” he said.
Concerns about climate change are also likely to sway voters when they go to the polls on August 21. Personality, too, could play a key role, as Australians decide which leader will best serve their country’s interests.