After the closest election in decades the leaders of Australia's two major parties begin the process of wooing independent lawmarkers as they both attempt to form a viable government.
The day after Australia's inconclusive election.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott are urgently negotiating for support.
Both candidates are wooing three rural independents and one green MP, and possibly a fourth independent from Tasmania.
That's because on Sunday morning -- with well over three quarters of votes counted -- the most likely outcome is no overall winner.
With coalition in mind, Gillard told reporters she was best placed to form a new government.
"I enter these negotiations with the nation's interest as my compass. A sentiment most certainly shared by the independent and Green members. I will lead the negotiations with and I will be assisted by the deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan. Negotiations will be conducted with propriety, with integrity, and with diligence. This is obviously an extremely close election. It is clear that neither party has earned the right to govern in its own right. It now appears clear that Labor has won the two party vote. That means that a majority of Australians voted yesterday, prefer a Labor government. I think this a critical fact to weigh in the coming days."
Opposition leader Tony Abbot also spoke to media on Sunday, saying a Labor government would most likely fail.
"It's almost inconceivable that any Labor government emerging from this election could deliver competent and stable government. It's certain that any Labor government emerging from yesterday will be chronically divided and dysfunctional."
While the candidates continue to lobby for independent and Green support, it could be days before Australian voters know who will govern them for the next three years.
Travis Brecher, Reuters