Australia: Liberals Oust Labor

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd concedes defeat as Liberal Party head Tony Abbott claimed victory.

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Gil Ronen,

Kevin Rudd in Israel
Kevin Rudd in Israel
Flash 90

Liberal Party head Tony Abbott claimed victory in Australia's federal election Saturday evening.

Earlier, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded defeat and announced that he would not run again for the leadership of the Labor Party, saying it was ''time for renewal."

"Gees, a couple more days we might have got there," said Rudd in his concession speech.

"I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight and as your PM and as your parliamentary leader of the great Australian Labor Party I accept responsibility," he continued.

"I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win. [But] I'm proud that despite all the prophets of doom, that we have preserved our Federal Parliamentary Labor Party as a viable fighting force for the future."

Meanwhile, Liberal party supporters were in full blown celebratory mood throughout the Australian island. ''I can inform you that the government of Australia has changed,'' the victor, Abbott, said to a cheering crowd.

''From today, I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business.''