Australian PM announces date for general elections

Canberra,  Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that the country will hold the coming general elections on May 18, in a vote that could deliver a seventh leader in just over a decade.

Morrison, a former Tourism Australia director, and his centre-right Liberal National Coalition government are seeking re-election on a platform of tax cuts and economic stability, CNN reported.

“At this election there is a clear choice. It is a choice that will determine the economy that Australians live in, not just for the next three years but for the next decade,” he told the media here.

Morrison, who came to office following a bruising intra-party putsch in August 2018, faces a fierce challenge from the opposition Labor Party, led by former union leader Bill Shorten.

Labor’s platform of climate change action and greater spending on health and education has so far resonated with voters.

The coalition government hasn’t been ahead in any poll for more than a year and in a national Newspoll earlier this month, trailed Labor by 52 to 48.

Australia has two houses of parliament — the House of Representatives and the Senate. To win power, a government must get a majority of the 151 seats in the House of Representatives.

No Australian Prime Minister has faced re-election in 12 years, since former long-time leader John Howard lost the 2007 election to the Labor Party’s Kevin Rudd.