Australian PM Morrison's Liberals claim victory in Tasmania state election

The win gives a fillip to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government. PHOTO: REUTERS

HOBART, TASMANIA (BLOOMBERG) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberals claimed victory in a state election in Tasmania.

With almost 80 per cent of votes counted, the Liberal Party led by state Premier Peter Gutwein was one seat short of the 13 it needs for a majority. The Labour Party won seven seats, with four still in doubt.

Mr Gutwein called an early election five weeks ago after losing his majority, and had sought to emulate the landslide success of his Western Australia counterpart in March on the back of their track records in containing Covid-19 outbreaks.

"We've turned Tasmania into one of the safest places in this country and without doubt one of the safest places on this planet," Mr Gutwein said late Saturday. "It appears increasingly likely that we will govern in majority."

The win gives a fillip to Mr Morrison's government, which lost support amid a backlash over its handling of sexual assault allegations in parliament. State elections are predominantly fought on local issues. The Liberals hold power in three of Australia's eight states and territories, as well as federally.

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