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SYDNEY, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott survived a challenge to his leadership Monday after his ruling Liberal Party voted down a motion to unseat him after weeks of infighting, but the attempted revolt appears likely to weaken his grip on power.
In a secret party room ballot, a vote to declare the positions of party leader and deputy leader vacant was defeated by 61 votes to 39, a party official told reporters. In a short televised statement after the vote, Abbott insisted the turmoil was over and called for unity within the party and the country.
Still, a consensus appeared to be forming that the large number of votes against Abbott indicated a lack of support so damaging as to potentially render him a lame duck. "It does suggest to me continuing instability, because 40 percent of your party has just expressed no confidence in you," said Rod Tiffen, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Sydney.