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Australia elections: Early results show swing against ruling coalition

worldpaper Updated: Jul 03, 2016, 05:52 IST

SYDNEY: Australia was headed for a hung parliament or a minority government with half the votes counted in a national poll on Saturday, potentially blocking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ability to enact key economic reforms.

Official electoral data around halfway through the count for the House of Representatives showed a 3.3 percent swing away from the Liberal-led coalition government shortly before counting officials clocked off for the evening.

The tight vote is a major blow for Turnbull whose gamble on a risky double dissolution of parliament in a bid to oust intransigent independents in the upper house Senate blocking his agenda appears to have backfired.

“Friends, we will not know the outcome of this election tonight, indeed, we may not know it for some days to come,” a jubilant Bill Shorten, leader of the opposition Labor Party, told supporters in Melbourne just before midnight. “But there is one thing for sure - the Labor Party is back.”

Opinion polls heading into Saturday’s vote had showed a potentially tight vote after the landslide victory that brought the coalition to power in 2013, but just how tight still caught many by surprise.

ht epaper

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