Australia’s in­de­ci­sive election high­lights govt in­sta­bil­ity

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNACIONAL -

CANBERRA, Australia—Australia’s prime min­is­ter promised to sta­bi­lize a gov­ern­ment long steeped in chaos. In­stead, his gam­ble to call an early election high­lighted the in­sta­bil­ity, with the re­sult too close to call and the na­tion fac­ing the grim prospect of a hung par­lia­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said he re­mained “qui­etly con­fi­dent” his con­ser­va­tive Lib­eral Party-led coali­tion would emerge vic­to­ri­ous. But that con­fi­dence con­flicts with early re­sults show­ing Turn­bull’s party los­ing a swathe of seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives — which de­ter­mines who gov­erns the coun­try.

“Aus­tralians seek greater cer­tainty, greater clar­ity, sta­bil­ity in their gov­ern­ment,” Turn­bull told re­porters on Sun­day. “While the count will take a num­ber of days, prob­a­bly un­til the end of next week, I can prom­ise all Aus­tralians that we will ded­i­cate our ef­forts to en­sur­ing that the state of the new par­lia­ment is re­solved with­out di­vi­sion or ran­cor.”

De­liv­er­ing a uni­fied gov­ern­ment may be tough. With around 30 per­cent of bal­lots cast Satur­day left to be counted, nei­ther the coali­tion nor the op­po­si­tion cen­ter-left La­bor Party had gained the re­quired 76 seats in the 150-seat House to form a gov­ern­ment. Turn­bull was pin­ning his hopes on mail-in and early bal­lots that tra­di­tion­ally fa­vor the con­ser­va­tives.

The like­li­est sce­nar­ios point to a slim coali­tion vic­tory or a dreaded hung par­lia­ment, which could prompt yet an­other election. Turn­bull and op­po­si­tion leader Bill Shorten both have con­tacted the five in­de­pen­dent law­mak­ers who could be called on to sup­port a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment. If no al­liance can be forged, the gov­ern­ment could end up call­ing an­other election, though Turn­bull did not di­rectly say if he con­sid­ered that an op­tion.

“We are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that the par­lia­ment, as elected, will work ef­fec­tively and con­struc­tively for the Aus­tralian peo­ple,” Turn­bull said. Shorten, who sur­prised most an­a­lysts by ral­ly­ing a higher than ex­pected num­ber of vot­ers to his La­bor Party, ac­cused Turn­bull of fail­ing to de­liver on his prom­ise of a united gov­ern­ment. “It is pretty ironic — last week, Mr. Turn­bull was promis­ing rock-solid guar­an­tees of sta­bil­ity,” Shorten said. The un­cer­tainty is trou­ble­some, with Turn­bull ac­knowl­edg­ing he was wor­ried that any per­cep­tion of in­sta­bil­ity while the vote was sorted out could harm Australia’s triple-A credit rat­ing.

Busi­ness lead­ers de­scribed the un­re­solved election as the worst pos­si­ble out­come and urged the par­ties and in­de­pen­dents to act quickly to form a gov­ern­ment. Econ­o­mist Stephen Kouk­oulas, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mar­ket Eco­nom­ics, said mar­kets would not like the un­cer­tainty when they open on Mon­day af­ter the global in­sta­bil­ity that fol­lowed Bri­tain’s de­ci­sion to leave the Eu­ro­pean Union.—AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.