Australia

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman resigns after poll defeat

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman (January 2006) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Newman will remain caretaker premier until a definitive poll outcome is known

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has resigned following state elections 10 days ago in which the state's Liberal-National Party (LNP) was defeated.

There was been a massive swing to the Labor opposition in the vote.

It looks as if Labor has 44 seats which with the support of an independent MP is enough to form a government.

The defeat of the state government - Mr Newman was among those who lost their seats - has been partly blamed on the unpopularity of PM Tony Abbott.

Governor Paul de Jersey says he will commission a new premier following the formal declaration of results - the cut-off for postal votes ends on Tuesday but final declarations could take days.

So far only 25 seats had been formally declared in the 89-seat parliament.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Abbott said of the Queensland result that government was not a popularity contest but a competence contest

Mr Newman will remain caretaker premier until a definitive poll outcome is known.

Labor and the LNP have been haggling over who will run the state after neither side secured a clear majority in the 31 January vote.

Correspondents say though that with a predicted total of 44 seats, Labor is in by far the best position to form a government, especially after independent Peter Wellington pledged his support.

Opposition Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk hopes to visit the governor by Wednesday evening to seek permission to form a minority government.

As the counting continues, the LNP is expected to win 42 seats. It had 78 seats in 2012.

The party wants the state to stay in caretaker mode until all seats have been declared.

Mr Abbott at the beginning of this month vowed to learn the lessons from the Queensland vote, where the LNP lost the largest political majority in Australian history after just one term.

The prime minister has accepted his coalition had "difficulties" but said that government was about competence not popularity.

Mr Abbott - who survived a confidence vote in his leadership on Monday - has faced stinging criticism recently, including from his own party, over his decision to award a knighthood to Queen Elizabeth's husband Philip.

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