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Australia government wins majority after fierce election fight
[SYDNEY] Australia's ruling conservatives finally secured a parliamentary majority following a protracted election vote count, projections showed Monday.
The incumbent Liberal/National coalition, which declared victory on Sunday after the Labour opposition conceded defeat eight days after national polls, secured 76 seats in the 150-seat lower House of Representatives, according to national broadcaster ABC.
The tightly contested July 2 election followed three years of turbulence in Canberra, where two sitting prime ministers were deposed by their own parties in a "revolving door" of leaders.
The ABC projections said the coalition secured two additional seats in Queensland, where just hundreds of votes divided the two major parties, in an election in which populist minor parties and independents won more representation in parliament.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged the challenges his conservative bloc faced in the new parliament Sunday and promised to value the agendas of everyone who was elected, even if they held views contrary to his party.
"It is my commitment to work in every way possible to ensure that the crossbenchers (members from minor parties and independents) feel that they have access to all of the information they need and all of the resources they need to be able to play their role in this Parliament," he told reporters in Sydney.
Despite the projections of a lower house majority, Mr Turnbull is likely to face opposition in the upper house Senate over a key part of his government's May budget - multi-billion-dollar corporate tax cuts to shore up an economy shifting away from a dependence on mining investment.
Australian elections, held every three years, usually sees the incumbent government given more than one term of rule.
But last Saturday's vote showed how close the Labour opposition, led by former union leader Bill Shorten, was to returning to power just three years after being ousted.
Mr Turnbull is expected to swear in his new cabinet next week with the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, who is currently in France for Bastille Day commemorations.