The results of Australia’s parliamentary elections on Saturday are still too close to call, leading to questions about whether Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberal Party will still lead the nation next week when the final tally is counted.
To date, the Liberals won 65 of the 76 Parliament seats needed for a majority, while Labour has won 67. More than a dozen seats are still uncalled.
“I remain quietly confident that a majority coalition government will be returned at this election when the counting is completed,” Turnbull told reporters.
But Labour Party leaders says the tight race means Turnbull will have to revise his agenda, including the planned plebiscite, or public vote, on marriage equality.
While an overwhelming majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, many feel putting it to a national referendum is dehumanizing and will encourage hateful rhetoric from opponents.
A hung parliament with broad representation from minor parties may now have the numbers to pass same-sex marriage without a public vote.
“It’s clear that the Coalition doesn’t have a mandate to proceed with the plebiscite,” said Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome.
A number of anti-marriage MPs have lost their re-election bids, while several new LGBT members were voted in—including gay MP Tim Wilson, representing the suburbs of Melbourne.