Former Australian ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, has emerged as the victorious Liberal candidate for Wentworth after a marathon meeting of presidents that lasted until 1.30 am Friday.
Sharma beat seven other candidates, including Katherine O & # 39; Regan, who was supposedly the favorite candidate of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
It was understood that the prime minister was pressuring the members of Wentworth to support a candidate. Some surveys commissioned by private parties showed that the party could improve with a woman in the seat.
Mr. Morrison wrote a "great congratulations" to Mr. Sharma on Friday morning, praising a "quality guy with extensive experience and ability".
Then he went on to minimize his informed defense of a candidate.
"The best candidate won, that's how it should be, of course, I want to see more liberal women in Parliament," Mr. Morrison wrote on Twitter.
"But I always want to see the best candidate selected, that's what the members decided last night, thanks and well done to the selectors and a big congratulations to David, welcome to the team."
Sharma had the support of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was a popular deputy in the seat and increased the margin of the Liberals. According to reports, another former prime minister, John Howard, also supported Mr. Sharma's offer.
Mr. Turnbull tweeted his own congratulations and praised Sharma's background in diplomacy.
"As a diplomat, Dave has represented Australia magnificently abroad, and now if elected he will make a great contribution in our national parliament," Turnbull wrote.
Mr. Sharma will be under pressure to maintain the traditionally secure Liberal seat in Sydney.
Early polls suggest that Liberals will face a major swing against them, and voters will not be impressed by the recent turbulence of the leaders and the dumping of their leaders by local leaders.
A loss at Wentworth would cost the Morrison government its meager majority of a seat in the House of Representatives, which means it would depend on independent deputies to guarantee supply and confidence.
Queensland MP Bob Katter has already warned that it could cause "chaos" unless the government addresses its political concerns.
Dozens of party faithful entered the Eastern Suburbs of the Rugby Union Club in Rose Bay to vote on the preselection and did not leave for seven hours.
"We have a tough fight ahead of us to keep this seat, but I'm going to do my part and I think we can keep it and keep a liberal government in Canberra," Sharma told reporters.
It is known that Sharma was pressured to withdraw from the race, as some within the party pressed for a woman to be selected.
But it was reported that Mr. Turnbull called Mr. Sharma from New York and urged him to remain in the race.
Mr. Bragg left the race on Monday, saying he hoped it would pave the way for a woman. It is also understood that he agreed to withdraw in exchange for a safe place on the party Senate ballot.
The same-sex marriage advocate and Sydney City Councilwoman Kerryn Phelps is still considering an incline in the seat as an independent, but she must still confirm her execution.
Pre-selection candidate and former Wentworth member Peter King said he respected the party's decision.
"The decision was made based on the merits and that's the way it should be," King told AAP as he left the rugby club.
Labor selected the businessman and president of Tamarama Surf salvage Tim Murray in the seat.
Morrison said the presidents had a very important job, given the "very difficult" circumstances surrounding the by-elections.
"I think this will be a very close fight," he told reporters on Thursday.
The partial elections will take place on October 20.
– with AAP