Barnaby Joyce will face another challenger for the leadership of the Nationals after the party’s former deputy David Littleproud threw his hat into the ring.
The new nomination sets up a three-way contest between Mr Littleproud, former deputy prime minister Mr Joyce and former veterans affairs minister Darren Chester.
Mr Littleproud and Mr Chester will seek to topple their boss at the post-election leadership spill which will happen when the party meets in Canberra on Monday.
Mr Littleproud released a statement on Saturday confirming his decision.
“This afternoon I advised Barnaby Joyce of my intention to nominate for the position of Leader of The Nationals,” Mr Littleproud wrote.
“I also took the opportunity to thank him for all his service to our party.
“I feel this is the appropriate time to put myself forward for my party room’s consideration as their leader.
“Ultimately, this is a decision on who will lead The Nationals to the 2025 election.”
Mr Littleproud, the former agriculture minister, has been one of his party’s stronger advocates on climate change and Net Zero.
His nomination comes as the Nationals are at a crossroads after the election result and remain internally divided over the way forward on those issues.
Mr Chester confirmed his nomination on Friday, pitching a fresh start for the party.
“Australians want a calmer, moderate and more respectful political debate which is focused on policies, not personalities,” he said in a statement on Facebook.
Outgoing and surviving Liberals have blamed Mr Joyce for part of the coalition’s poor showing last Saturday, on top of the negativity surrounding Scott Morrison.
Former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack may also put his hat in the ring for the party’s top job, having been critical of Mr Joyce’s leadership since he lost in a leadership spill against him in 2021.
Anne Webster will contest for the deputy leadership role, currently held by Mr Littleproud.