07/09/2008 - 08:04

No winner in state election

07/09/2008 - 08:04

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Western Australia faces a period of unprecedented political uncertainty after the major parties failed to win a majority of seats in yesterday's state election.

Western Australia faces a period of unprecedented political uncertainty after the major parties failed to win a majority of seats in yesterday's state election.

The governing Labor Party suffered a substantial swing against it of 5-6 per cent, with most of those votes going to the opposition Liberal Party and the Greens (WA).

Despite the big swing Premier Alan Carpenter did not concede defeat, nor did Liberal leader Colin Barnett claim victory.

Whoever ends up forming a government, the outcome is a big rebuff for Mr Carpenter and a major boost for Mr Barnett, who saved the Liberals from oblivion after he resumed the leadership just a month ago.

The outcome puts the rural-based Nationals - which will probably hold the balance of power with four seats in the Legislative Assembly - in a very powerful position.

The Nationals have traditionally formed a coalition with the Liberals, and if they chose that option they would almost certainly be in government.

However Nationals leader Brendon Grylls is singing a different tune, vowing to remain independent (see below).

At the close of counting last night, the outcome in the 59-seat Legislative Assembly was far from certain.

ABC election analyst Anthony Green gave Labor 24 seats, the Liberals 24 seats, the Nationals four seats, independents three seats (see below), with four undecided.

Mr Green projected that Labor would win 27 seats, the Liberals 25 seats, the Nationals four seats and independents three.

The undecided seats include Riverton, Wanneroo, Albany and Forrestfield.

Mr Carpenter said last night it was too early to call a result.

"The most likely outcome would appear to be a hung parliament with the Labor Party as the party with the most number of seats,'' Mr Carpenter said.

He added that it would be some time before the outcome was clear and that he would need to have discussions with others.

Mr Barnett said the voters of WA "have rejected the Labor government and have delivered a situation where we could form a government".

"That is what I believe the people of this state want," Mr Barnett said in a speech to Liberal supporters.

He commented that the next government could comprise "Liberals and other parties and independents".

``We are entering into a realm of complexity in WA politics,'' Mr Barnett said.

One possibility is that Mr Barnett could form a coalition with Liberal-leaning independents Liz Constable and Janet Wollard, giving his side 27 seats and matching Labor.

Mr Barnett could then offer the Speaker's chair to the Nationals or to Mr Bowler.

 

 

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