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World

Australians go to polls as government tries to hold off strong Labor challenge

Saturday 18/May/2019 - 10:39 AM
Australians go to
Australians go to polls
edited by: Basant Ahmed
Millions of Australians voted in a general election on Saturday in which the ruling conservative coalition campaigned on its record of economic management and a resurgent Labor opposition promised action on climate change and tax reform، Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition has been in power since 2013 but has struggled in opinion polls for years، hurt by concerns over instability and party infighting.

Bookmakers had centre-left Labor at almost unbackable odds to regain office.

A final opinion poll by Newspoll for The Weekend Australian newspaper on Friday showed Labor’s lead over the coalition at 51.5% to 48.5% on a two-party preferred basis، under which votes for unsuccessful candidates are redistributed until a winner is declared.

“I am nervous because it’s a big day، it’s a very big deal،” Shorten، a former trade union leader، said after voting in his electorate in Melbourne، Australia’s second-largest city. “But I’m confident that we have done the homework.”

Polling booths opened at 8 a.m. (2200 GMT on Friday) and will close at 6 p.m. (0800 GMT). Voting is compulsory in Australia and there are about 17 million eligible voters. Preliminary results should be known on Saturday evening.

More than 7،000 polling stations were open across Australia in venues such as surf clubs، schools and public halls. There were also about 90 voting centres overseas.

A two-hour time difference means voting centres in Western Australia state will still be open when initial counts start coming in from the more populous east coast.

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