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Australia's general election starts

08-21-2010 07:47 BJT

CANBERRA, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Polls opened Saturday morning for Australia's federal elections for the 43rd Parliament amidst a poll-suggestion that Prime Minister Julia Gillard led Labor Party is running neck-and-neck with Tony Abbott led Coalition.

More than 14 million people are enrolled to vote to choose from 1,198 candidates for all the 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the 76-member Senate.

Polling stations, which opened at 8 a.m. (AEST) on Saturday ( 2200 GMT Friday), have been set up at 7,700 locations which have stockpiled 43 million ballot papers and will be supervised by some 70,000 temporary electoral staff.

According to Australian Associated Press, this year's election has been the tightest one in decades.

A Nielsen poll, published in News Ltd papers on Saturday, showed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Labor government ahead of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's coalition on a two-party-preferred basis by 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

The opposition party needs to win 17 additional seats in the House of Representatives to beat the Labor Party and form a majority government.

This will be only the second August election in 109 years of Australian Federation. The last time was exactly 67 years ago on Aug. 21, 1943, when former prime minister John Curtin was elected during World War II.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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