Melbourne: Australia’s ruling conservative coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday made a “miraculous” comeback and is set to form the next government after winning most number of seats in the elections, defying exit polls which predicted a victory for the opposition Labor Party. Australians on Saturday voted to elect their next parliament and prime minister, in what has been widely referred to as the climate-change election.
After five weeks long election campaigning across the country, around 16 million Australians swarmed to the polling booths across the country to elect the nation’s 31st prime minister. A Nine-Galaxy poll released shortly before the voting stations closed in the east of the country showed a victory for the centre-left Labor party and Liberal Party-led coalition losing its bid for a third three-year term.
The poll showed the Labor winning as many as 82 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, beating the governing Liberal coalition. On Friday, media reports also endorsed Labor Party leader Bill Shorten as the best chance to end a “cycle of instability” in Australian politics.
To win a majority in the House of Representatives, either major party will need 76 seats. The Coalition currently holds 73 seats, while Labor has 72. Defying the exit polls, the early counting recorded a swing in favour of the ruling coalition, which so far won 74 seats, paving the way for Morrison to become the country’s 31st prime minister.
So far, it is not clear whether the Coalition will govern in majority or will need partnership of independent MPs in a minority. According to media reports, the ruling Liberal supporters started an early celebrations at the party headquarters after it became clear that it may form the next government.
The Greens, Centre Alliance and other Katter’s Australia party has all taken one seat each so far with counting reaching half way. The coalition managed to make significant gains in Queensland and Tasmania and limited its loss in New South Wales and Victoria.