Dominic Perrottet said it was an “absolute honor and privilege” to be elected 46th Premier of New South Wales after winning a ballot in the village hall.
Mr Perrottet beat Planning Minister and good friend Rob Stokes by 39 to 5 this morning.
Employment Minister Stuart Ayres will become his deputy chief and Matt Kean, who is the current environment minister, is expected to be promoted to treasurer.
LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the Prime Minister’s vote
Mr Perrottet made a brief statement after leaving the village hall with his colleagues.
“I really appreciate the trust my colleagues have placed in me today,” he said.
While Mr. Perrottet belongs to the less dominant right-wing faction of the Liberal Party, Mr. Ayres and Mr. Kean belong to the moderate faction.
The party hall was forced to vote for a new leader after Gladys Berejiklian’s shock resignation last Friday following news that she would be investigated for alleged corruption.
Mr Stokes was widely seen as an outside chance, but Mr Perrottet said if elected he would be sure to give Mr Stokes a leadership position in the ministry.
After the vote, Mr. Stokes pledged his loyalty to his colleague and close friend Mr. Perrottet.
“The village hall had a democratic vote, I always said that I would give the choice to the people, and they chose with force, democracy is the winner,” he said.
“Dominic Perrottet will be a magnificent Prime Minister and he enjoys unwavering loyalty and support.
“I will use every ounce of strength in my body to make sure he is re-elected Premier of New South Wales when we go to the polls in 2023.”
Mr. Perrottet is expected to hold a press conference in the next hour.
Ms Berejiklian did not attend the village hall meeting today and it is understood that she did not vote.
A new cabinet will be formed by Perrottet after the high-profile resignations of Deputy Prime Minister and Head of Nationals John Barilaro and Transport Minister Andrew Constance over the past two days.
He will face an early test as Prime Minister when by-elections take place in Mr Barilaro’s electorate in Monaro, Mr Constance’s seat in Bega and Ms Berejiklian’s seat in Willoughby.
Mr Perrottet, 39, rose quickly through the ranks and is expected to comfortably win the vote today.
The father of six is ââa conservative Catholic and has previously said his faith shapes his policies.
He voted against decriminalizing abortion in 2019 and also opposes assisted dying.
He was appointed deputy head and treasurer of the Berejiklian government and was recognized for his strong economic management of New South Wales.
Mr Perrottet said on Sunday that if elected he would be extremely focused on recovering employment as NSW nears a major reopening on October 11 for those fully vaccinated.
Mr Perrottet did not rule out changing the state’s roadmap outside of the lockdown and it has been suggested he might prefer to speed up the reopening.
Restrictions are currently expected to ease on October 11 after the state hits its goal of 70% of residents over the age of 16 fully immunized.