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Aussie foreign minister encouraged to challenge

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Former foreign minister Kevin Rudd says he is encouraged by support from government colleagues to challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership of their Labor Party.

Rudd told reporters at his hotel in Washington on Thursday that Gillard could not lead the party to an election victory next year.

But Rudd will not say whether he will challenge Gillard in a leadership ballot of Labor lawmakers until he returns to Australia on Friday.

He said: "I've had many conversations with caucus colleagues and with ministerial colleagues. I'm very pleased and encouraged by the amount of positive support that encourages me to contest the leadership of the Australian Labor Party.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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