Australia election count neck and neck with hung parliament looming | News | DW | 02.07.2016
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Australia election count neck and neck with hung parliament looming

Exit polls have indicated a swing to the opposition Labor Party in Australia's general election. PM Turnbull had called snap elections hoping to secure more seats but may now face a hung parliament.

The early counting of votes in Australia's general election has indicated that incumbent Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal party-led coalition is unlikely to win the outright majority in parliament it had hoped to secure.

The Australian Electoral Commission said on Saturday that the ruling conservative coalition was in the lead, holding 71 seats, the center-left opposition Labor Party had 68 seats, and minor parties or independents had five seats.

Counting was less clear for another six seats of the 150 in the House of Representatives, where parties that control a majority form the government.

"There's a good chance we'll still be trying to work out who's won this election tomorrow and maybe even longer than that," Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told ABC television on Saturday less than three hours after counting started.

"It's a very, very close election," Plibersek added.

The election could result in a hung parliament in which a major party needs to form an alliance with independents or minor parties to form a government.

'Every confidence'

However, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared optimistic about the initial results.

"Based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a coalition majority government," Turnbull told supporters.

"The election is over. Only the counting remains. And now is the time to unite in Australia's aid, in Australia's service to ensure that we can have truly the very best years for our country ahead of us," he added.

Australia's only minority government since 1945 was led by the Labor Party from 2010 to 2013, when a coalition came to power with 90 seats.

Should Labor win, its leader, Bill Shorten, would become Australia's fifth prime minister in the last three years.

ls,shs/jm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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