SYDNEY – Australia’s Liberal-National Coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, celebrated an unexpected election victory on Saturday after the polls named Labor as winners.
Morrison gave a triumphant speech in Sydney, amid ovations from his fellow party members who chanted “ScoMo,” as he has been nicknamed.
“I always believed in miracles and today we have delivered another one. How big is Australia?” he said.
“Tonight is not about me or the Liberal Party, it’s about each of the Australians who depend on a government that puts them first.”
Projections from the Australian Electoral Commission, which are not final, estimated 74 seats to the ruling coalition, two seats short of an absolute majority, compared to 67 to the Labor Party, while several independents also managed to enter the lower chamber.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten admitted defeat by announcing that “without wanting to keep false hopes, while there are still millions of votes and important seats to finish, it is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government.”
The ex-unionist added that he had called Morrison to congratulate him on the victory and announced that he will leave the leadership of his party to make way for a new leader, although he will remain in parliament as a legislator.
The liberals have celebrated the victory, although it is unknown if the coalition can govern without alliances with other formations.
One of the heavyweights in the coalition, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not renew the seat he held for 25 years.
To govern by majority in Australia a party needs 76 of the 151 seats, otherwise it has to make alliances with independents and minority parties.
Other formations that won seats in the legislature was Katter’s Australian Party, which represents rural interests, the Green Party and the Centre Alliance, as well as four other independents.
The results of the election day have taken Labor by surprise, who were favorites in a Newspoll survey on election day morning that gave them an advantage of three percentage points against the coalition.
The Labor Party, which entered the electoral race under Shorten’s leadership with one of its most ambitious proposals in decades, did not get the votes it expected, especially in the state of Queensland in the northeast.
Labor pledged to reduce 45 percent of polluting gases by 2030, compared to 2005 emissions.
An important section of voters in Queensland are in favor of a project exploiting a gigantic coal mine by the company of Adani.
The legislative elections also renewed 40 of the 76 representatives to the Senate, which does not participate in the election for the prime minister but is relevant for the approval of laws.
In the last legislature, Morrison was forced to negotiate intensively with the upper house with minority parties and independents, including the nationalist, right-wing party One Nation, to take forward some initiatives.
Billionaire Clive Palmer will not get a seat in the Senate despite investing heavily in his own campaign.