Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition Labour party leader Bill Shorten on Monday began talks with independent MPs in an attempt to form a minority government.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said it could take up to a month to determine the final results of Saturday’s election, while a clear result to determine a government might not be known until Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
So far, the AEC tally has Labour leading in 69 seats and the ruling Liberal-National coalition leading in 64 seats.
Five seats were listed as close, and another six as “not yet determined”. Counting of pre-poll, postal and absentee votes will resume on Tuesday.
At least 11 of 150 lower house seats remain in doubt.
As it stands, both major parties could form a minority government, in which they must secure support of independents to gain the 76 seat majority required to govern, members from both parties remain confident they can win the election.
Liberal Senator and Turnbull confidant Arthur Sinodinis said the Prime Minister would be entering dialogue with a number of crossbench MPs in an attempt to form a government. He said it was important for all parties to enter mature discussions in such a complicated situation.
“We on all sides have to work with parliament the Australian people have delivered,” Sinodinis said on Monday.
All 150 seats in Australia’s lower house, the House of Representatives, were being contested at this election, as were all 76 seats in the upper house, the Senate.
Nearly a quarter of Australians voted for a lower house candidate from outside the major parties. Results for the Senate vote are expected to take several weeks.
It is the first time in decades that all the seats in both houses have been contested in a single election. The double-dissolution election, as it is known, was called by Turnbull in an attempt to break a deadlock over industrial relations legislation.