Australian voters delivered a striking blow to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's reelection bid, ousting him from office and ending almost a decade of conservative government rule in the country.
Morrison conceded to opposition leader Anthony Albanese, who is set to become the next prime minister, paving the way for the left-wing Labor Party to assume control following Saturday's elections.
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“It’s a difficult night for Liberals and Nationals around the country,” Morrison told supporters. “Tonight, it’s a night of disappointment for Liberals and Nationals.”
It’s not clear whether Albanese’s party would assume total control of the government, as some independent and Green Party candidates seemed poised to win their races, setting the stage for intraparty negotiations on key issues candidates have vowed to address, such as climate change.
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A year ago, the prime minister seemed keen to win reelection because the country was successful early on in the pandemic by keeping case numbers low. However, Australians quickly grew frustrated with his crisis management, as he was slow to begin the country’s vaccine rollout and was delayed in declaring national emergencies for historic floods in March.
Morrison, who assumed office in 2018, had been slipping in the polls in recent months as voters expressed exhaustion with his combative leadership style. The outgoing prime minister previously admitted his leadership style could be compared to a “bulldozer” that may turn voters off.