Prime Minister Gillard called the ballot after Rudd resigned from his role as foreign minister during a trip to the United States, claiming he couldn’t operate without the full support of his prime minister.

After losing by a record margin Rudd said he would commit himself to supporting Gillard: “I congratulate Julia on her strong win today,” he said.

“The caucus has spoken. I accept the caucus’s verdict without qualification and without rancour.

“Time, in fact it’s well past time, for these wounds to heal. Because what we in this Government and this party and this movement are wedded to is a higher purpose.

“Our purpose is to serve the nation.”

Following the announcement of the results of the ballot, Gillard said: “I can assure you that this political drama is over and you are back at the centre stage where you should properly be.”

Gillard announced on Friday that she would hold a leadership ballot, in order to put the issue to rest “once and for all,” claiming that ongoing party divisions had become a distraction from government.

Cabinet ministers were slow coming forward to offer support for Rudd, who was attacked for his divisive leadership style by deputy PM, Wayne Swan.

The result paves the way for Gillard to lead Labor into the general election next year.

Image via Getty