John Howard backed Dominic Perrottet for the NSW Premier

Ms Berejiklian took a swipe of farewell to the ICAC in his resignation speech, and ICAC Office Inspector Bruce McClintock received complaints about the time of their statement.

The intervention of the respected elder of the party was significant in convincing the heart of the party’s right -wing group, led by Police Minister David Elliott, to shift their support to Mr Perrottet.

Mr. Elliott had previously ruled out supporting Mr. Perrottet in the midst of a factional battle playing out in the northwest of the city but told colleagues that his respect for Mr. Howard had changed his mind.

Mr Howard said Ms Berejiklian’s resignation was a loss for NSW. Credit:James Brickwood

While Mr Perrottet is still working to raise support, Mr Stokes is the first minister to be formally elected to replace Ms Berejiklian in the state’s top job on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Stokes, who missed replacing Mike Baird in 2017 while on a trip abroad, said he had the right balance of experience, vision and integrity to lead NSW as premier.

“The NSW Coalition is the best team to ensure our recovery succeeds, and I believe I am the best person to lead the government in the critical next election,” he said.

“I am fortunate to have the support of my family in this decision and I will continue to communicate with my colleagues over the weekend.”

Labor Minister Stuart Ayres is also contemplating running for the position, while Transport Minister Andrew Constance has remained strict on whether he will choose. The Bega MP is also considering stopping state politics in the coming weeks and nominating for Gilmore’s federal seat.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he has received encouragement from colleagues to run for leadership, and will disclose his intent on Sunday.

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“Our government’s first priority has and will continue to be the health, welfare, safety, and livelihood of our communities, as we move toward the careful reopening of our state,” he said.

A senior Liberal source said it has long been assumed that there was an agreement between Mr Perrottet and Environment Minister Matt Kean in 2017 when Ms Berejiklian became premier.

It is widely believed that the deal will see Mr Kean, the leader of the moderates, deliver support from his faction to Mr Perrottet to become premier, if he in turn is made the party’s deputy leader.

The source said it looks likely that Mr. Perrottet will be able to confirm the top job, with Mr. Kean as his deputy and likely trustee.

The ICAC on Friday confirmed Ms Berejiklian was the focus of their latest investigation, prompting her to immediately announce her resignation as premier.

Investigating whether Ms Berejiklian allowed or encouraged the corrupt behavior of her ex-long-term boyfriend, humiliated former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire.

At the center of the investigation was $ 5.5 million awarded by the government to the Australian Clay Target Association and $ 30 million to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, both in the former seat of Mr. Maguire of Wagga Wagga.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns said he was not worried about who the Liberals installed as the state’s new premier, and promised to work with them for the rest of the pandemic.

He added that the hope of winning the next state election remained a “big task” for Labor.

“We have a long way to go. That will not change. I honestly think this will be a big demand for the NSW Labor Party, regardless of who the Liberal Premier is, ”he said.

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