Political hero's death overshadows Australian campaign

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Australia's opposition leader says he wants to win elections on Saturday for his Australian political hero whose death overshadows the final days of campaigning.

The death of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke at his Sydney home on Thursday has turned the national focus to the legacy of his center-left Labor Party government, which modernized the Australian economy from 1983 until 1991.

The immensely popular 89-year-old had given his imprimatur to opposition leader Bill Shorten, who opinion polls suggest is the favorite to win the election.

Shorten said on Friday that Hawke had given him his "blessing" when they last met at Hawke's home last week.

Many commentators believe Hawke's death at such a crucial time in the five-week campaign is a blow to the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition's chances.