Pacific

After days of limbo, Australian premier claims election win

  • FILE - In this July 1, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to a member of the public as he walks through the suburb of Hurstville in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

    FILE - In this July 1, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to a member of the public as he walks through the suburb of Hurstville in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 2, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten speaks to supporters on a street after a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power.  (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

    FILE - In this July 2, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten speaks to supporters on a street after a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 2, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to questions during a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

    FILE - In this July 2, 2016, file photo, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to questions during a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Shorten conceded defeat in a dramatically close national election that has left the country in limbo for more than a week. Vote counting is still underway from the July 2 ballot, but opposition leader Shorten said on Sunday, July 10, 2016, that it was clear that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition would eventually secure enough seats in the House of Representatives to retain power. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)  (The Associated Press)

Australia's prime minister said on Sunday that his conservative coalition government was re-elected for a second three-year term, after a chaotic national election that left the country in a state of political paralysis for more than a week while officials scrambled to sort out who had won the tight race.

Vote counting was still underway from the July 2 ballot, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his conservative Liberal Party-led coalition had secured a victory, and that opposition leader Bill Shorten had called him earlier to congratulate him on being re-elected.

"We have resolved this election," Turnbull told reporters.

The election was not, however, entirely resolved. Parties are required to hold at least 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives to form a majority government, and neither party has yet to officially reach that number.

There are two possibilities: Either the coalition will form a majority government by a slim margin, or the country will have a hung parliament. If that happens, Turnbull's coalition will forge an alliance with independent and minor party lawmakers to form a minority government.

Asked whether he thought his party would win an outright majority, Turnbull replied simply: "We've won the election."

With about a quarter of the ballots still left to be counted, the Australian Electoral Commission said the coalition was leading in 76 seats, Labor in 69 seats and minor parties and independents in five. It could take days or weeks to resolve the final tally.

Despite the victory, Turnbull faces a tough road ahead with a divided party, a fractured Senate and a weary electorate. The government went into the election with a comfortable majority of 90 seats and few had predicted it would suffer such steep losses.