Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday conceded defeat after his Liberal Party fell short of a majority in the national elections, AFP reported. The centre-right Liberal Party is set to lose power after having ruled the country for nearly a decade.
Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese is now likely to take over as the next prime minister. On Saturday evening, the Labor Party was ahead in 72 seats, while the Liberal Party-National Party coalition was leading in 55 seats, according to Australian national broadcaster ABC News.
The majority mark in the country’s parliament is 76 seats. Counting of votes was still underway in 11 seats.
Morrison said that it was a difficult and humbling day for his party that he would quit as its leader in the wake of the election result.
“Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and I have congratulated him on his election victory,” he said in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Albanese said that he wants to promote unity and optimism, rather than fear and division, BBC reported. He urged citizens of his country “to shape change, rather than be shaped by it”.
The Labor Party leader said that the Australian citizens could together “end the climate wars” and the country could become a superpower in renewable energy. Climate crisis was a major topic of the election campaign in the wake of recent deaths and loss of property due to bushfires and floods.
Albanese also promised that he would set up a national anti-corruption commission. He added that he was committed to the rights of women and indigenous communities.
At an event in Adelaide on Friday, he had recalled his childhood days as the son of a single mother in Sydney, according to AFP.
“It says a lot about this country that someone from those beginnings... can stand before you today, hoping to be elected prime minister of this country tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Albanese on his victory.
“I look forward to working with you as we reap the rewards of our comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the AUKUS [Australia, United Kingdom and United States] partnership and the unmatched closeness between the British and Australian people,” he said.