Queensland election preselections are becoming a battleground between the Liberal National Party executive and the rank-and-file.
A rift between the Liberal National Party executive and the rank-and-file could claim more scalps in Queensland, analysts say.
The LNP executive disendorsed former housing minister Dr Bruce Flegg, who has held his Brisbane seat for a decade, earlier this month.
But on Monday night local branch members narrowly rejected the executive’s hand-picked, alternate candidate Dr Christian Rowan.
The LNP has reopened preselection in Moggill, calling for candidates to nominate by next Wednesday.
Both Dr Flegg and Dr Rowan plan to run and it’s unclear if any other candidates will throw their hats in.
University of Southern Queensland’s Professor Geoff Cockfield says the executive still wants to see the back of Dr Flegg, but branch members could reject Dr Rowan again.
“They’re stuck in a loop, the LNP is in a serious bind here,” he told AAP.
“I can’t see how this will end, it’s effectively a stand-off.”
Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Clive Bean said the final candidate would depend on who had the greater will to act.
“Bruce Flegg has nothing to lose, he won’t be backing down quickly,” he told AAP.
Prof Bean said it remained to be seen if the party executive was willing to risk further damage to its reputation by trying to ditch the former minister again.
The affair could also prompt Dr Flegg to run as an independent, which the analysts agreed could cause the LNP to leak votes, but wouldn’t be fatal in the safe seat.
The widening stand-off could yet claim the scalps of two MPs who, unlike Dr Flegg, survived the LNP executive’s review process.
Former arts minister Ros Bates will face Mudgeeraba rank-and-file on Tuesday night, while former ethics committee chair Peter Dowling is due to face party members in Redlands on Saturday.
Ms Bates resigned as minister in February last year after criticism about alleged nepotism, her contact with lobbyists and the amount of leave she had taken.
Mr Dowling stood aside six months later after it emerged he’d sent his mistress a picture of his penis in a glass of red wine.
Prof Cockfield was surprised the MPs had been allowed to stand, particularly Mr Dowling, and not Dr Flegg.
“There’s nothing obvious that Bruce Flegg has done other than getting in a few scraps with leaders, he certainly doesn’t have the indiscretions that Mr Dowling has,” he said.
Prof Bean said Dr Flegg and Mr Dowling were still electable in the eyes of the executive, but both MPs could both be rejected by the rank-and-file.