Australia in limbo as vote counting in tight election to take days

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Vote counting resumed yesterday in a dramatic Australian federal election but a winner is not expected to be announced for several days, raising the prospect of prolonged political and economic instability.

Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull

The exceptionally close vote leaves Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chasing support from key independent and minor parties – the very groups he called a risky double dissolution election to circumvent – to retain power.

The opposition Labor Party is also schmoozing with a quartet of new power brokers who are yet to declare support for either side, as rumbling grows about Turnbull’s future as leader of the centre-right Liberal Party-led coalition. The election on Saturday was meant to put a line under a period of political turmoil which has seen four prime ministers in three years. Instead it has left a power vacuum in Canberra and fuelled talk of a challenge to Turnbull’s leadership of the Liberal Party, less than a year after he ousted then prime minister Tony Abbott in a party-room coup.

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