Australian Prime Minister ousted

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia's beleaguered prime minister has been ousted from his position by an internal government challenge and the party's former leader has been elected to replace him. Prime Minister Tony Abbott lost a leadership ballot by members of his conservative party on Monday following the second challenge to his position this year. The change in leadership comes as the 2-year-old conservative coalition government struggles in opinion polls.

Liberal Party whip Scott Buchholz told reporters that lawmakers voted 54 to 44 to replace Abbott with his chief rival, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The vote continues an extraordinarily volatile period in Australian politics. Turnbull becomes Australia's fourth prime minister in just over two years.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.