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18 May, 2019 19:57

Liberals secure unlikely victory in Australia’s surprising federal election result

Liberals secure unlikely victory in Australia’s surprising federal election result

Australia’s Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed victory in the federal election in a stunning turnaround as virtually all opinion polls spelled success for the rival Labor Party.

Australia’s center-right Liberal-National Coalition is set to return to government as the election results show it has secured an unbeatable lead over its major competitors. With almost 75 percent of the votes counted, the Liberal-National Coalition is expected to gain 74 seats in the parliament out of 76 needed to form a majority government.

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Labor has so far secured enough backing to get only 65 seats. With only six seats remaining in doubt, they appear to be unable to catch up with their rivals in any case. The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has already accepted defeat.

“Without wanting to hold out any false hope, while there are still millions of votes to count ... it is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government,” Shorten said, speaking to party supporters in Melbourne. He also added that he would not take part in the next Labor leadership elections following this defeat.

Morrison called his party’s victory a “miracle” and thanked the “quiet Australians” for it. "I have always believed in miracles," he told his supporters in Sydney. “And tonight we've been delivered another one.”

“These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight,” Morrison said.
For many, this result came as a total surprise as it seems that nobody could have predicted such an outcome. For some two years, Labor consistently gained more support than the Liberal-National Coalition in the opinion polls.

The Liberal Party has been recently plagued by an ideological split between its moderate and more conservative wings, which culminated when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to leave his post and was replaced by Morrison in August 2018. Morrison has since claimed to have re-united the party.

Yet, exit polls still predicted the narrow victory for the Labor. Some Australian media noted that Labor might have scared off the voters with its too ambitious policy agenda, which involved some difficult and arguably unpopular tax reforms.

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Other reports suggested that Morrison was successful in turning the election campaign in a sort of his personal contest against Shorten. Although the Labor did enjoy bigger support as a party, its leader constantly trailed behind Morrison as a preferred prime minister in the polls.

Last week, a poll showed only 38 percent of respondents believed Shorten would be the better head of the government while Morrison enjoyed the support of 45 percent of Australians, although 51 percent still backed Labor and 49 percent supported the coalition.

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