Ten government ministers in Australia have offered to resign following a failed bid to oust Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as party leader.
Mr Turnbull narrowly won an internal party leadership vote on Tuesday but is now likely to face a second challenge.
He accepted the resignation of his challenger, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and one other minister.
Mr Turnbull is under pressure because of a long run of poor polling and a divisive energy policy.
His centre-right coalition will face a general election by May next year, after recently losing a key by-election in Queensland.
Aside from Mr Dutton, those who offered resignations included three senior ministers in Mr Turnbull’s 23-member cabinet, Australian media reported.
The opposition Labor party has accused the government of being in “chaos”.
Now on the backbench, Mr Dutton has said he is still actively campaigning for the leadership and has lobbied other MPs for their support in a second vote.
“You do not go into a ballot believing that you can lose and if I believe that a majority of colleagues support me then I would consider my position,” he told radio station 3AW.
Mr Turnbull initiated the first vote among Liberal Party MPs on Tuesday in an attempt to end growing speculation about his position as leader of the Liberal party. He won the vote 48-35.
“The iron laws of arithmetic confirmed my leadership,” he told reporters on Wednesday when asked about his future.
The under-pressure PM has now withdrawn two major policies, admitting defeat over a company tax plan on Wednesday.
He had earlier abandoned a key commitment to set an emissions reduction target in law, in an attempt to ward off party conflict.
Mr Turnbull confirmed he had asked eight ministers to stay on in his ministry despite their offers to stand down.
Along with Mr Dutton’s resignation, he also let go the International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr Turnbull said: “What I’m endeavouring to do is to obviously ensure that the party is stable, to maintain the stability of the government of Australia.”
Many Australians online have responded to the battle in Canberra with a sense of frustration and dismay.
Labor tried to move a motion of no confidence against the prime minister in parliament on Tuesday.
“While chaos reigns, the country is not governed,” Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said.
Under the Australian system, as in the UK, the prime minister is the leader of the party or coalition that can command a majority in parliament.
Over the past decade, Australian politics has been marked by a series of leadership coups, with three sitting prime ministers deposed by party rivals within their first terms.