Kevin Rudd’s Prime Ministership looks terminal after a move by factional leaders to unseat him in favour of Julia Gillard.

Rudd has agreed to a leadership ballot tomorrow, but it appears Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has the numbers and Crikey understands Rudd will struggle to muster a decent vote against his Deputy.  Julia Gillard has declared she will be a candidate for the leadership tomorrow after an extended meeting with Rudd and key ALP powerbrokers, including party Solon John Faulkner, this evening.

One of the causes of tonight’s mayhem was today’s revelation that Rudd had asked his Chief of Staff, Alister Jordan, to canvass ALP Caucus about his level of support in recent days.  The fact that Rudd did not personally undertake the exercise has deeply offended a number of Caucus members, and played to the perception Rudd is a technocrat who does not really belong to the ALP.

Rudd held a press conference at 10.30 this evening at which he finally provided the sort of direct, blunt communication that had been missing from his performance for most of 2009, declaring he would not be driven to the Right on the issues of asylum seekers or climate change.  However, his performance, in which he railed at party factional powerbrokers, looks too little too late to save his position.