Melbourne: Australia is facing possibility of a hung parliament as over 11 million ballots counted for the poll on Sunday showed a close race with neither Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition nor opposition Labor bagging enough seats to form a majority government.
More than 10 million people cast ballots on Saturday to decide the fate of over 1,600 candidates, including five of Indian-origin, contesting from over 55 political parities.
Voters dumped more than 10 Coalition MPs with the government suffering a 2.8 per cent swing against it.
With more than three-quarters of the vote counted, the government was on track to claim at least 65 seats — down from 90. Labor was also predicted to win 67 seats. Thirteen were too close to call, and results may not be known until later in the week.
The future Australian government would be resolved by the 11 seats which remain in doubt. Of these, Labor was ahead in six.
The polls will elect all 226 members including 150 members for the lower house of the 45th parliament after an eight-week official campaign period following the double dissolution announced by Turnbull in April.
If the Coalition finishes with fewer than 76 seats, it would need to negotiate with independents and minor parties to stay in power, ABC reported.
Turnbull, 61, was seeking out to crossbenchers and reports said that at least one Independent candidate, Bob Katter, was looking at negotiations.
Turnbull also expressed confidence that the Coalition could form majority government despite results still unclear.
"Based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a coalition majority government in the next parliament," he said.
Turnbull conceded it was a "very, very close count" with 30 per cent of votes yet to be counted.
Media reports said that there were reports of Labor Party's Bill Shorten likely to face a leadership contest against Anthony Albanese.
Albanese has the support of powerbrokers from Labor's left and right factions to take the leadership. Albanese has not denied a move for a contest, telling colleagues Labor's focus should be on forming government.
AEC spokesman Phil Diak said "[There's a] very strong pattern there that it does take around a month to complete all the counting for the House and Senate," he said, adding AEC won't declare seats until there's a mathematical impossibility of the leader being overtaken, as it were, in any seat.
"So that's often a lot later than when victory is claimed or a seat is conceded," Diak said.
Published Date: Jul 03, 2016 10:47 am | Updated Date: Jul 03, 2016 10:47 am