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Former Australian conservative leader to quit

Former Australian conservative leader to quit

The lawmaker who replaced former Prime Minister John Howard as Australia's conservative leader announced Tuesday that he will quit politics next month.
Brendan Nelson succeeded Howard as the Liberal Party's leader after the former prime minister suffered a landslide election loss in November 2007. But dogged by poor opinion polls, the Liberal Party replaced Nelson with Malcolm Turnbull in a September 2008 ballot.
Turnbull is also proving unpopular in opinion polls, but Nelson, 51, ruled out any chance of a leadership comeback after announcing Tuesday that he will quit his post in the Sydney electoral district of Bradfield in late September.
"It has become increasingly clear to me that Bradfield needs an energetic new advocate and representative sooner rather than later," Nelson told reporters.
The former doctor was elected to parliament when Howard's government first swept to power in 1996. He served as education then defense minister in Howard's government.
Nelson's departure further limits the options for Liberal lawmakers who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Turnbull's troubled leadership.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will soon call a by-election to replace Nelson. The Liberals are likely to retain the seat, which is among their safest.