Australian PM's long-distance poll surprise
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Julia Gillard has surprised Australians by announcing that elections will be held in September.
Gillard, pictured, said she wanted to create an environment in which voters could more easily focus on national issues by removing uncertainty around the timing of the elections.
Experts disagreed about whether Gillard's unconventional move would give her an advantage in the elections. Some said voters would embrace her for making the early announcement on the date, while others suggested that Gillard had above all created a gruelling eight-month election campaign instead of the usual five-week campaign.
Opinion polls suggest the conservative opposition coalition led by Tony Abbott is likely to win the elections convincingly.