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Australia’s Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison Wins Election Confounding Pollsters

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MELBOURNE – Scott Morrison, Australia’s conservative prime minister, won his first full term in office on Saturday, confounding expectations that the country’s voters were ready for a change in course after six years of tumultuous leadership under his party.

The polls had pointed to a loss for Mr. Morrison’s right-leaning coalition for months.

With a handful of seats still looking too close to call, it remained possible that Mr. Morrison would have to lead a minority government, rather than retaining outright control.

But whatever the eventual margin of victory, his coalition’s performance amounted to another swell in the wave of populist fervor that swept President Trump into office and set Britain on a path out of the European Union.

Australia’s opposition leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat to Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the country’s general election.

Bill Shorten, the opposition leader, appeared before his supporters in Melbourne, announcing that Labor had lost the federal election and that he planned to step down as the party’s leader.

Shorten said, “It is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government and so, in the national interest, a short while ago, I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him.”

Late Saturday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. called 74 seats in the 151-seat lower parliamentary house as wins for Morrison’s conservative Liberal-National party coalition, with 65 seats to Labor and 12 undecided. The Channel 9 network called 73 seats to the coalition, 61 to Labor, with 17 undecided.

Tony Abbott, the former prime minister, lost the seat in Sydney’s northern beaches that he has held since 1994.

A total of 76 seats are needed to form a majority government.

Source: The Associated Press, NY Times