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OZ’s first coalition in 70 years?

world Updated: Aug 22, 2010 23:51 IST

Australia faces a period of political turmoil after Julia Gillard’s Labor government lost its parliamentary majority in a general election that looks set to lead to the country’s first coalition government in 70 years.

The Australian prime minister has begun negotiations with independent candidates after acknowledging that neither her party nor the opposition conservative coalition was likely to win the 76 seats needed for an outright majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives.

“It is clear that neither party has earned the right to government in its own right...It’s my intention to negotiate in good faith an effective agreement to form government,” she said.

Gillard said she hoped to enlist support for her centre-left Labor party, which has ruled for three years, and had held preliminary talks with four independents and Green candidate.

But the opposition Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, said the loss of voter support that cost the government many of its 83 seats showed Australians wanted a change.”’s first coalition in 70 years?