ARLINGTON, WA (AP) The state’s top elected official has been named as a Liberal Party candidate for the WA Premier in a race to replace former Premier Colin Barnett.
Burak Akbari will run in the seat of Darlington, which was held by Barnett in 2015 and is a marginal seat that was won by former premier Peter Beattie.
Abbott, who is currently in South Australia, had been considered the front-runner to win Darlington since early this year.
He told WA’s ABC Radio he would have preferred to have won the seat in a landslide, but the circumstances were not right.
“I would have liked to have done better than that,” he said.
“The circumstances were just not right, which means that I would have had to do better than I thought.”
Abbott said he has “a good relationship” with Darlington Liberal MLA and former deputy speaker of the state assembly, David Rau, who he met at the Commonwealth Games last week.
He said he is confident Rau is the right person to fill the vacancy in the Upper House, which he chairs.
“He has the experience, he has the temperament, he is someone that can be a good friend and a good partner for me,” he added.
“That is what I need.
That is why I am in this race.”
Abbot also said he would “never” vote for a candidate who would vote against the interests of his constituents.
He made the comments in response to questions from reporters, saying he would not support candidates who did not share his views on social issues such as same-sex marriage.
“It is the wrong message for the people of Darwen to hear,” Abbott said.
The WA Liberal Party has been in government for 17 years, with Barnett serving as premier from 2001 to 2014.
The former premier resigned in 2016 after being found guilty of illegal campaign funding.