Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s (above) Liberal Party was set to form a minority government with the help of independent candidates or smaller parties when 75% of votes in the national elections were counted on Saturday, reports say.
Labor leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat and stepped down as party chief.
Liberal’s victory upset opinion polls, betting markets and psephologists all of whom had predicted victory for Labor Party.
Morrison called it a miracle win as Liberals were trailing before Saturday’s elections.
According to Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Morrison’s coalition is projected to win 74 seats, two short of majority in the 151-member House of Representatives.
Labor is likely to win 66 seats, Greens 1 seat, others five, and five still to call.
Counting was set to resume on Sunday.
Addressing supporters gathered at Liberal Party’s campaign headquarters in Sydney, Morrison said he believed in miracles.
Flanked by his wife Jenny and two daughters, Abbey and Lily, Morrison said he is standing with the three biggest miracles of his life. Now voters have delivered a fourth miracle, he added.
He thanked “quiet Australians” for voting him to power again.
Conceding defeat, Shorten said one has a responsibility to respect the result and wishes of Australian voters.
Shorten said he was proud of the campaign team for the courage, integrity and the vision they showed.
They argued what was right, not what was easy, said the former trade unionist whose campaign focused on climate change and tax reforms.
His rival Morrisson promised political stability and efficient economic management.
Former prime minister, John Howard, told ABC that Labour lost the election because of its focus on class division and environment.
Shorten struggled to explain his party’s ambitious plans that involve big spending while Morrison tried to convince voters that for successfully implementing them, Labor will have to raise taxes by $387 billion over a decade.
Senior Labor leaders blamed the party’s dismal show in Queensland on the deal the Coalition struck with the United Australia Party and Clive Palmer’s big investment in campaign advertising.
Despite the shock victory, the Coalition suffered a setback as former prime minister, Tony Abbott, lost his northern Sydney seat after holding it for 25 years.