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Australian Leader to Seek Fourth Term in Fall Vote

August 29, 2004|From Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — Prime Minister John Howard announced today that he would seek his fourth term in elections Oct. 9. Among the key issues in the campaign will be the economy, national security and the war in Iraq.

The vote will pit Howard's three-term conservative coalition against a resurgent Labor Party led by maverick lawmaker Mark Latham. It will offer voters the choice of maintaining Howard's controversial military engagement in Iraq or backing Latham's vision of pulling hundreds of Australian troops out of the Middle East by Christmas and boosting economic aid to Iraq.

The Iraq issue lends the election echoes of the Spanish poll last spring that was marred by train bombings in Madrid that killed 191. The attacks on the eve of voting were seen as an attempt to influence the election.

Spain's Socialists, who had vowed in campaigning to pull the country's troops out of Iraq, won and made good on the pledge.

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