Australia

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull urged to quit after election

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Media captionPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters "the counting continues" while opposition leader Bill Shorten hit out at the "farcical" situation

Australia's opposition leader has urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to resign after a cliff-hanger election failed to deliver a clear winner.

"I think he should quit," said Labor Party leader Bill Shorten. "He's delivered instability."

The election result remained too close to call as counting of votes resumed Tuesday morning.

The PM said he had "every confidence" his conservative coalition would be able to form a majority government.

Australia faces the prospect of a "hung parliament" after neither of the two main parties reached the 76-seat quota required to form a government.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), the vote tallies show that in the contest for the 150 lower house seats, the ruling conservative coalition has won 67 seats and the centre-left Labor Party has won 71 seats.

A total of six seats has gone to independents and minor parties, and six seats remain in doubt, the AEC says.

But experts cast doubt on these figures, with the Australian Broacasting Corp.'s respected analyst Antony Green saying the AEC's website shows seats as decided when they are actually too close to call.

Mr Green's count has the coalition on 68 seats, Labor on 67, others on five and 10 undecided.


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During the government's re-election campaign, Mr Turnbull campaigned on a "jobs and growth" slogan and, in the final week, added two words: "stable government".

According to the Labor Party leader, the prime minister failed to deliver the stability he had promised.

"Mr Turnbull tried to capitalise on the Brexit vote and say because of what happened in England that you had to vote for him in Australia," Mr Shorten said.

"He's Brexited himself. This guy's like the David Cameron of the southern hemisphere."

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Image caption Opposition leader Bill Shorten has also been holding talks with independent MPs

Australia has had five prime ministers in the past six years. Despite the poor showing during the coalition's re-election campaign, Mr Turnbull is looking to avoid adding to that tally.

The prime minister on Sunday called for the Liberal Party to remain calm.

"I can promise all Australians that we will dedicate our efforts to ensuring that the state of new Parliament is resolved without division or rancour," he said.

Senator Cory Bernardi, from the right-wing of the ruling Liberal Party, said that Mr Turnbull and campaign strategists "need to be held to account".

"I think in the end he should be asking himself if he has done the Liberal Party a service or a disservice," he said.

"The broader picture and the question we've got to ask ourselves is how did we get to a circumstance where we had a significant majority in the House of Representatives and now the best option is perhaps to form minority government."

Analysts predict that Mr Turnbull's coalition will form an administration working closely with crossbenchers to pass legislation.

Labor Party stalwart Anthony Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Australia's major political parties needed to engage more with voters.

"I think there's a sense of alienation from mainstream politics that allows for populist parties… to be able to present simplistic answers to what can be very complex problems," he said.

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