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  1. Politics
23 August 2010

Negotiations begin for Australian coalition

Horse trading begins as no party wins a clear majority.

By and New Statesman

Australia’s political leaders have gathered in Canberrra to start political horse trading that could last for up to two weeks.

The prime minister, Julia Gillard, and the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, will negotiate with a small group of independent and Green MPs to see which party will be able to form a government.

Votes are still being counted by the Australian Electoral Commission, but Gillard said yesterday that it was clear that none of the major parties was likely to win the 76 seats needed for a majority.

Gillard suggested her party had the right to govern because it had won the majority of the two party preferred votes under Australia’s preferential voting system. “I think this is a critical fact to weigh in the coming days,” she said.

The opposition leader Tony Abbott said the “savage swing” against Labor meant it had “lost its legitimacy to govern”.

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The negotiations are likely to end with Australia’s first coalition government in 70 years, with the balance of power lying with just three independent MPs.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
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