Pacific

Australian leader clashes with predecessor over record

Australia's prime minister and the man he replaced have clashed in an indication that splits in the ruling party are still wide as the country heads into a possible early election in July.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Monday that he will call an early election on July 2 unless the Senate agrees to pass contentious legislation.

The opposition argues that Turnbull had effectively kicked off a 15-week election campaign, with key senators talking down the prospects of legislation to create a construction industry watchdog getting majority support.

Tony Abbott, the unpopular prime minister who was replaced by Turnbull in September after two years in power, claimed credit for the center-right government's main achievements.

But Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday said that his administration was different from Abbott's.