Australia PM humbled as election vote count drags on

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accepts 'full responsibility' after 'poor' appear to abandon government at ballot box

Australia PM humbled as election vote count drags on

World Bulletin / News Desk

Four days after Australians went to the polls to elect a new government, the prime minister is eating humble pie and the country remains in a holding pattern awaiting the result.

According to political analyst Nick Economou, the ongoing chaos can be summed up in one sentence: “The poor strike back”.

“These are the people who feel exposed by or vulnerable to modern economics and voted Labor in the Lower House and for the socially conservative, popular right in the Upper House,” Economou told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Current figures show a 3.75 percent swing against the government. When the count is complete one of the two main parties may need to do a deal with an independent or minor party to form government.

“They’ve brought down [Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull - he’s as good as a dead man walking - and destroyed the [Liberal Party and National Party governing] Coalition,” the Monash University political expert underlined.

The term “modern economics” is a reference to Liberal Party leader Turnbull’s rhetoric about “the modern, dynamic, 21st-century economy Australia needs”, which Economou said would have alienated the average person, who relies on government support for education and health.

Since Saturday's poll, the coalition has attributed blame for its losses to a scare campaign mounted by the opposition Labor Party, which claimed the coalition lacked commitment to the country’s national healthcare system, Medicare.

Despite protestations to the contrary from Turnbull, Economou maintains that Labor was "justified" in its attack as it harks back to a series of decisions in the 2014 budget of former Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott, which fostered anxiety about the coalition’s historic hostility towards state healthcare.

On Tuesday afternoon, a contrite Turnbull, who has been criticized widely for an “arrogant” and “out of touch” speech on election night, changed his tune and his demeanor saying said there were lessons to be learned.

"It's too early for definitive judgments… it will take time to absorb the lessons from the campaign. I want to make it quite clear that as prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party I take full responsibility," he told a press conference in Sydney.

"There is no doubt that there is disillusion with the mainstream parties and we respect that.”

Economou, however, doesn’t buy the coalition’s acceptance of responsibility.

“The hubris of the coalition is extraordinary, which suggests yet again that they don’t get it. They’re not prepared to take responsibility for their contribution to their own demise,” he said, referring again to the government’s criticism of Labor’s health system scare campaign.

In the latest election count at 7.00 p.m. (0900GMT), the coalition had won 72 seats while Labor had dropped to 66, with one seat moving from a predicted Labor gain to "in doubt".

In the 2013 election, the coalition had 90 seats and Labor had 55.

ABC election analyst Antony Green has projected the coalition will secure at least 73 seats, and says it is still possible they could reach the required 76 necessary to win a majority government.

"I think they can get to 76," Green told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.

"73 is a definite, 74 is also likely, 75 is possible, 76 is less possible."

Jill Sheppard from the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods at the Australian National University told Anadolu late Wednesday that the Electoral Commission is hinting the Lower House result should be known by Friday. 

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2016, 14:55
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