Australia’s prime minister has conceded defeat after an election that could deliver a minority government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted quickly after Saturday’s election despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attend a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S., Japanese and Indian leaders.
“I believe it’s very important that this country has certainty. I think it’s very important this country can move forward,” Morrison said.
“And particularly over the course of this week with the important meetings that are being held, I think it’s vitally important there’s a very clear understanding about the government of this country,” he added.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party clenched its first electoral win since 2007.
Incoming PM Anthony Albanese says he wants to unite country
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese said he wanted to bring Australians together as he made his first comments after leading his party to an election victory on Saturday after nine years in opposition.
“I want to unite the country,” Albanese told reporters as he left his home late on Saturday night to attend a Labor Party celebration in Sydney.
“I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that.”
The first polling stations closed on the country’s east coast at 6 pm (0800 GMT). The west coast is two hours behind.
Due to the pandemic, around half of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.
Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92 per cent of registered voters cast ballots at the last election.