Australia’s conservative government revels in ‘miracle’ re-election

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s conservative government celebrated on Sunday its shock election victory that defied years of unfavorable opinion polls, with U.S. and Israeli leaders welcoming Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s return to workplace.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison with spouse Jenny, youngsters Abbey and Lily after successful the 2019 Federal Election, on the Federal Liberal Reception on the Sofitel-Wentworth lodge in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2019. AAP Image/Dean Lewins/by way of REUTERS

Australia’s Liberal-led coalition has gained or is main in 74 seats in its quest for a 76-seat majority, in response to the Australian Electoral Commission, with three-quarters of votes counted.

The opposition Labor occasion has conceded defeat and Bill Shorten stepped down as its chief.

“Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN,” U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned on Twitter.

The White House mentioned Trump and Morrison spoke by cellphone and “pledged to continue their close cooperation on shared priorities”.

Morrison advised raucously cheering supporters late on Saturday, who simply hours earlier had appeared resigned to defeat, that he had at all times believed in miracles.

The consequence drew comparisons with Republican Trump’s victory in 2016, when the true property mogul defied polls to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by successful over the so-called silent majority.

Opinion polls in Australia had all pointed to a Labor victory forward of Saturday’s vote. So robust was the expectation the government would fall that one betting company even paid out bets on a Labor win days earlier than the election.

Morrison, nonetheless, solid himself because the candidate who would work for aspirational voters and the tactic appeared to ring a bell.

A Pentecostal church-goer, Morrison took over as prime minister final yr when he emerged because the surprising winner of infighting throughout the Liberal occasion, the senior companion throughout the Liberal-National coalition.

It remains to be unclear whether or not the coalition can govern with an outright majority or might want to negotiate assist from independents, with hundreds of thousands of early votes solid earlier than polling day nonetheless to be counted.

Several seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives are nonetheless too near name.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who fended off a troublesome contest from unbiased and Greens candidates in his Melbourne voters, advised Australian Broadcasting Corp. tv on Sunday Morrison had led with power and conviction.

“From the minute the starter’s gun was fired in this campaign, we knew we were behind, but we also knew we were in it,” Frydenberg mentioned.

The government campaigned on a platform of tax cuts and stability, whereas Labor promised to scale back inequality by means of tax reform, larger wages, higher public infrastructure and quicker motion on local weather change.

Fitch Ratings mentioned in a word the consequence would convey coverage continuity, together with the coalition’s pledge to start out delivering finances surpluses subsequent monetary yr.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu additionally congratulated Morrison on Sunday.

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“I know that under your leadership the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger,” Netanyahu mentioned on Twitter.

Australia formally acknowledged west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital late final yr, reversing many years of Middle East coverage and following Trump’s resolution to maneuver the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Morrison, who was extensively criticized for the choice, mentioned on the time Australia wouldn’t transfer its embassy to Jerusalem instantly.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly in MELBOURNE and Jonathan Barrett in SYDNEY; Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Timothy Gardner in WASHINGTON and Ari Rabinovitch in JERUSALEM; Editing by Paul Tait

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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