Dave Sharma announced as Liberal candidate for Wentworth by-election

Dave Sharma announced as Liberal candidate for Wentworth by-election

Former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma has been selected by the Liberal Party as its candidate in the by-election for the federal seat of Wentworth.

“I’m honoured to have been selected as the Liberal candidate,” Mr Sharma said after the selection vote. “We have a tough fight ahead of us to hold on to this seat, but [I] believe we can retain it, and retain a Liberal Government in Canberra.”

The seat of Wentworth was vacated by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was ousted from the leadership in August and resigned from Parliament.

Despite the push for a female candidate from current Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other senior Liberal Party figures, the Prime Minister tweeted congratulations to Mr Sharma.

“The best candidate won. That’s how it should be,” Mr Morrison tweeted. “Of course I want to see more Liberal women in Parliament. But I always want to see the best candidate selected. That’s what members rightly decided last night.”

Mr Morrison rejected the suggestion that the result was embarrassing for the Liberal Party given the recent focus on its lack of female parliamentarians.

“I want to see more Liberal women in Parliament, but I also want to see the best candidate,” he said at a joint press conference with Mr Sharma in Bronte Beach. “And those two issues are not contradictory.

“Dave was the best candidate last night, and as you’ll get to see, his record of service, his record of achievement, his high intellect and his ability to get the job done, I think, will serve the people of Wentworth extremely well.”

The Wentworth by-election is scheduled for 20 October, and the seat is expected to remain in Liberal Party hands, despite the fallout from the leadership spill that led to Mr Turnbull’s resignation.

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