Australia’s newly elected leader may have to be sworn in as acting prime minister to attend a summit with US President Joe Biden, while votes are still being counted in the country’s poll.
It is unclear whether Anthony Albanese The Labor Party will be able to form a majority government or count on the support of smaller parties and independents who have taken seats.
However, on Tuesday he is due to meet in Tokyo with Mr Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishido and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Labor, which needs 76 seats to rule on its own, was declared the winner, receiving 72 with a count of 68.5% of the vote.
Heavily defeated Conservative coalition led by Liberal PM Scott Morrison so far it has only 51 seats – much less than in the 2019 elections, when most of them were 76.
This means that the composition of the new parliament looks much less climatic than the one that supported Mr. Morrison’s coal mining administration.
A total of 15 seats have been declared for independent or smaller parties.
Three of them were provided by the Green Party and 12 non-aligned candidates, up to nine from the so-called Independents, who campaigned for a policy of integrity, equality and the fight against climate change.
Most of their successful candidates were women, and their success was seen in part as a rebuff to Mr Morrison for addressing gender issues, including the sex scandals that rocked parliament during his last three-year term.
While Labor will form a majority or minority government, both major parties have lost ground: support for the Conservative coalition has fallen by more than 6% since the 2019 election, and Labor has fallen by about 1.2%.
Mr Albanez has vowed to unite Australians, increase investment in social services and “end climate wars”.
Speaking to reporters walking the dog on Sunday morning, Mr Albanez called a more cooperative approach to parliamentary affairs and described his victory as a “really big moment”.
He said: “I want to change the country. I want to change the way politics works in this country.”
Greens leader Adam Bandt has said his party wants to work with the next government to “solve the climate crisis” and the “inequality crisis” he says threatens Australia.
He said: “Liberals went back, Labor went back.
“More people have turned to the Greens than ever … because we said politics needs to be done differently.”
During the campaign, Labor promised more financial assistance and a stronger social safety net as Australia struggles with the highest inflation since 2001 and the jump in housing.
As for the foreign policy front, the party has proposed setting up a Pacific Defense School to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence in the Solomon Islands, which is on Australia’s doorstep.
He also wants to combat climate change by more ambitiously reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2050.
Mr Morrison, who became prime minister after an internal party coup in 2018, said he would step down as Liberal leader.
His popularity has plummeted after his unexpected victory in the 2019 election, including after a vacation in Hawaii during devastating forest fires in Australia in 2020.