SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s opposition Labor Party conceded defeat in the federal election on Sunday, clearing the way for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to retain power.
Counting of votes in the marathon election continues, but Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor Party, said the ruling coalition government led by Turnbull would gain enough seats to hold on to power.
“It is clear that Mr Turnbull and his coalition will form a government,” Shorten told a news conference in Melbourne. “Whether it is a minority government or majority government with one or two seats, it is clear they will form the government.”
The coalition has won 74 seats in parliament. With vote counting continuing into an eighth day, it is expected to win at least two of the five seats that remain in doubt, giving Turnbull the support needed to form a majority government.
Although Turnbull is expected to form a majority government, he is likely to be forced to depend on several independent members to get legislation through the lower house, raising questions about the long-term functioning of his government.
Labor vowed not to unduly disrupt the new parliament, however.
“Australians have made it clear, with the representatives they have selected, that they expect us to work together,” said Shorten. “I pledge, and I have indicated to Mr Turnbull, that where there is common ground, we work very hard to accomplish it.”