SYDNEY, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Dominic Perrottet was elected as the 46th premier of Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) following a meeting of the state’s ruling party on Tuesday morning.
The 39-year-old former NSW Treasurer won in a landslide internal party vote with 39 to five votes against NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes.
“It is an honor and absolute privilege to be elected as the parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party and premier of NSW,” Perrottet said to press as he left the party room.
The leadership reshuffle came following the shocking resignation of former Premier Gladys Berejiklian last Friday after it was announced she would be investigated for corruption by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Berejiklian has been the face of NSW’s fight against the pandemic throughout 2020, and has navigated the state’s course through the 2021 Delta variant outbreak that has seen lockdowns drag on in Sydney and surrounding areas for over 14 weeks.
Perrottet is taking the reins of leadership at what is a critical juncture as NSW is scheduled to begin easing restrictions from Oct. 11 as the 70-percent vaccination rate is reached.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Perrottet acknowledged Berejiklian’s “tireless dedication” to the state’s fight against the pandemic.
“It is my hope that I continue the strong leadership that Gladys has shown throughout this pandemic,” he said.
Second in command was handed off to NSW’s Minister for Jobs, Investment, and Tourism Stuart Ayres after former Deputy Premier John Barilaro also announced his surprise resignation on Monday.