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Howard concedes defeat.

SYDNEY: Australia's conservative Prime Minister John Howard conceded defeat in elections yesterday.

"This is great democracy and I want to wish Mr Rudd well," said Howard.

"He assumes the mantle of the 26th prime minister of Australia and I want to say that there is no prouder job a man can occupy than being the prime minister of Australia.

"I wish him well in the task that he will undertake and I want to say on behalf of the coalition that has governed this country for the last 11 and a half years that we bequeath to him a nation that is stronger and prouder.

"I have reformed the Australian economy and left it to the envy of the world."

Looking emotional, the Liberal Party leader entered the Wentworth Hotel to cheers of "Howard, Howard, Howard" accompanied by his wife Janette and his sons Richard and Tim.

The conservative leader, who has led a Liberal-National coalition to victory in four previous elections, also accepted responsibility for the government's crushing defeat.

Howard is also likely to lose the Sydney electorate he has held for 33 years.

Howard paid tribute to his wife Janette and their children for the support they gave him during his political career.

The mood was of sad resignation among about 500 government supporters gathered at the Wentworth Hotel to console each other over a drink and listen to Howard concede defeat.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
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