NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro will resign from state parliament, which will trigger a third future byelection in the state.
Mr Barilaro made the announcement early on Monday and his fellow Nationals are to choose a new leader on Wednesday.
Mr Barilaro’s resignation comes after Gladys Berejiklian quit on Friday under a corruption cloud, followed by Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s decision on Sunday to resign to take a tilt at federal politics.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is the frontrunner to replace Ms Berejiklian.
Three byelections will need to be held in NSW: Ms Berejiklian’s electorate of Willoughby; Mr Barilaro’s Monaro electorate and the electorate of Bega, which is being vacated by Mr Constance.
Willoughby and Bega are safe Liberal seats while Monaro has traditionally been a swing seat.
But Mr Barilaro cemented his hold over it at the 2019 state election, with the Nationals holding the seat with an 11.6 per cent margin.
Ms Berejiklian’s seat is an ever safer bet for the coalition, with the Liberal electorate held by a 21 per cent margin.
Mr Constance’s seat could be the biggest target for NSW, with the Transport Minister holding it by 6.9 per cent.
On Monday, Mr Barilaro said there was never a “right or wrong time” to exit politics but he had “lost the fight”.
“I have been thinking about this for a long time,” he said.
“I’m confident that this state now has bright days ahead of it … it is the right time for the state, for me.”
Mr Barilaro said the government was more than one person and would continue thanks to the ministers and public servants behind it.
He threw his support behind Mr Perrottet to be the next Premier, saying the Treasurer had “tried hard” to keep him in government.
“I genuinely believe in his role as Treasurer he [Mr Perrottet] has all the skills and all the ability and if endorsed as the leader of the Liberal Party, premier of this state, he will do a wonderful job,” Mr Barilaro said.
The Nationals will have a party room meeting on Wednesday – a day after the Liberals decide the new premier – when Mr Barilaro will formally resign as his party’s state leader and hold a ballot for a new one.
But Mr Barilaro did not say who he thought should succeed him as deputy premier, welcoming the party debate a leadership ballot would allow.
Mr Barilaro pointed to Mr Constance’s announcement as one of the pushes for him to resign on Monday.