The Latest: Australia’s opposition concedes election defeat

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe eat a sausage sandwich on a federal election day in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, May 18, 2019. Polling stations opened across Australia on Saturday in elections that are likely to deliver the nation’s sixth prime minister in as many years. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Australia’s general election (all times local):

11:50 p.m.

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

Shorten made the announcement to supporters of his opposition Labor party late Saturday night in Melbourne.

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.

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

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10:30 p.m.

The vote count in Australia’s general election is proving closer than opinion polls had predicted, with the ruling conservative coalition appearing more likely to form a government than the favored center-left opposition party.

The Liberal Party-led coalition seemed on track to win at least 73 seats and the opposition Labor Party at least 65 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

The close result from Saturday’s election raises the prospect of the coalition forming a minority government.

Pre-election opinion polls had suggested that the coalition would lose its bid for a third three-year term, and that Morrison would have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

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8:25 p.m.

Voting has ended in Australia’s general election, with some senior opposition lawmakers confident they’ll form a center-left government with a focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Morrison is the conservatives’ third prime minister since they were first elected in 2013. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot of government colleagues in August.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he expected that Labor would start governing from Sunday. He said his top priorities would be to increase wages for low-paid workers, hike pay rates for working Sundays and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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6:20 p.m.

Votes are being counted after Saturday’s Australian election, with senior opposition lawmakers gaining confidence they will form a center-left government with a focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

A Galaxy exit poll found that the opposition Labor Party could win as many as 82 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form government.

Polling booths in Australia’s eastern states, where most of the 25 million population lives, closed at 6 p.m. Polls close on the west coast two hours later.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten had said Saturday morning he was confident Labor would win, but Morrison would not be drawn on a prediction.

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8 a.m.

Polling stations have opened in eastern Australia in elections that are likely to deliver the nation’s sixth prime minister in as many years.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term at the election on Saturday and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Morrison is the conservatives’ third prime minister since they were first elected in 2013. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot of government colleagues in August.

The center-left Labor Party opposition under its leader Bill Shorten has been campaigning hard on more ambitious targets to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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