Australia election starts with no clear majority in federal election

Australia election starts with no clear majority in federal election

People arrive in Bondi Beach in Sydney to vote during Australia's general election on May 21, 2022. STEVEN SAPHORE AFP CANBERRA -- Australia's federal election kicked off on Saturday morning across the country, where either the Coalition or the Labor party need to get a majority in a close-run contest.

More than 8 million Australians are expected to cast their ballots at more than 7,000 polling booths across the country, and a record number of voters have already cast their ballots prior to the election day, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

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The voting will start at 8 am local time on Saturday, 2200 GMT on Friday and will be open until 6 pm local time when counting votes will start.

To get a majority government, either the Labor or the Coalition must win at least 76 of 151 seats in the lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives.

According to Australia's opinion poll released on Friday night, Labor leads the Coalition 53 -- 47 on a two-party preferred basis.

Both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese were tied in their personal battle, with 42 percent of respondents choosing to be their preferred prime minister.

The survey found that 36 percent of voters intend to vote for the Labor Party as their first preference and 35 percent for the Coalition.

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If neither the Labor or the Coalition wins enough seats to form a clear majority, the election result will be a hung parliament. In that case, both Morrison and Albanese will enter negotiations with minor parties and independent Members of Parliament in order to form a minority government, as the Labor did in 2010.

It is mandatory for all Australians aged 18 and over to vote in the election. More than 17 million people have registered to vote this year, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.