Australia’s conservative government has lost its parliamentary majority after an independent candidate was on Monday confirmed the winner in a critical by-election. Voters in the wealthy seaside constituency of Wentworth, in Sydney’s east, went to the polls on Oct 20 to chose a replacement for former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who quit politics in August after he was ousted by his own party. Widespread voter anger at Turnbull’s demise saw the ruling Liberal party hemorrhage votes, though the race narrowed to come down to a several thousand postal votes.
After two weeks of counting, the Australian Electoral Commission said Kerryn Phelps, an independent, had been elected after a 20 percent swing against the ruling government.
“This is the moment when the Australian people said there is something very wrong with the party political system,” Phelps told reporters in Sydney.