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Gladys Berejiklian Becomes First Female Liberal State Premier Ever

The deputy leader and treasurer ran unopposed for the job, so no vote was held.

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Gladys Berejiklian has been elected unopposed as the leader of the NSW Liberal party, and therefore 45th premier of New South Wales following the shock retirement of Mike Baird.

The deputy leader and treasurer ran unopposed for the job, so no vote was held.

Two other contenders for the job, planning minister Rob Stokes and transport minister Andrew Constance ruled out a challenge, clearing the path for Berejiklian to become the state's third premier in three years.

Finance minister Dominic Perrottet, from the party's Right, was elected deputy leader. National John Barilaro remains the Coalition's deputy leader.

The daughter of Armenian migrants, Berejiklian has held the northern Sydney seat of Willoughby since 2003.

Berejiklian is a moderate from the Left faction of the Liberal party, which means on many issues she is socially progressive and economically conservative. She supports same-sex marriage, is reportedly compassionate towards the plight of refugees but has never given a public opinion about Sydney's controversial lock out laws.

Berejiklian takes the reigns from Mike Baird, who last week shocked many by announcing his immediate retirement from politics so he could to spend more time with his family and help his parents and sister through "serious health challenges".

I'm retiring from politics. It's been an honour to serve you, NSW.

Berejiklian is the first Liberal female premier of any Australian state (Kate Carnell was chief minister of the ACT), but not the first female to hold the job in NSW. That mantle was taken in 2009 by Labor's Kristina Keneally.

Her predecessor Mike Baird became premier of Australia’s most populous state in 2014 after Barry O’Farrell was embroiled in a scandal over accepting a bottle of expensive red wine.

Baird hasn't said what he will do after politics but suggested a move to the private sector may be on the cards.

“On a number of occasions over the past few years, you know, people have said, ‘if you ever leave politics, come and talk to us’,” he said. “Obviously, that’s what I’ll do.”

Berejiklian will be sworn in as premier on Monday afternoon, with her new cabinet to be announced later.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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