CANBERRA, Australia, July 2 (UPI) — Australia’s national election was too close to call Saturday with more than 90 percent of the votes counted.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the leader of the conservative Liberal-National coalition, is seeking to keep his job as Bill Shorten, who heads the center-left Labor Party, is challenging.
With 90.32 percent of the votes cast, the Liberal-National coalition is leading with 71 seats and the Labor Party is close behind with 68, according to the Australian Election Commission. Six seats are not decided and other parties/independents hold five.
For a majority, 76 seats are needed. In the previous election, the coalition had 90. If either party doesn’t receive enough votes, support would be needed from other parties/independents.
Voting closed in Western Australia two hours after the eastern states finished voting. More than 10 people cast ballots in person on top of 4 million early voters.
The national two-party count was split nationwide with 50.33 percent favoring Labor and 49.67 the coalition.
Turnbull, who ousted Tony Abbott 10 months ago, called for an early election in seeking a new mandate.
Former Howard government treasurer Peter Costello predicted the coalition will win.
“I think I can see Labor winning 11 seats, not including Western Australia. I think there’s one that they can win in Western Australia but I’ve got to say to you I can’t seem them winning 19 so I don’t believe that Labor can win this election, I think the coalition will win it,” he told 9News.
Great Britain’s unexpected vote to leave the European Union is leading to a worldwide anti-establishment sentiment.
“This is not a time to make a protest vote,” Turnbull said Friday. “I’m asking every Australian to vote for stable coalition majority government, to vote for the national economic plan.”
Minor parties already hold the power in the 76-seat Senate.
“The prime minister keeps calling for stability, but stability comes from conversation. I don’t want anyone to have the power to just push things through,” said Robert Watkins, 37, a publishing worker who voted for independent Nick Xenophon in Sydney, told The Wall Street Journal.