The deadlock over who will govern Australia ended Sept. 7 with the Labor party narrowly securing control over the majority of the 150 seats in the lower house of Parliament, The Wall Street Journal reports. The support of two independents gave the party, led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, enough seats to form a government. National elections held Aug. 21 failed to give neither the Labor party nor its main rival, the Liberal-National coalition led by Tony Abbott, the required number of lower house seats. Two weeks later, Gillard was able to secure the necessary 76 seats, with the backing of the two independents, while the coalition holds 74 seats.
Several analysts warned that having such a slim majority in Parliament could at best stall legislation and at worst result in an impasse that could see Australians returning to the polls before the end of new government’s three-year term.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund says Australia is one of few major economies that are well-placed to handle “unexpected shocks.” The country joins Denmark, South Korea, Norway and New Zealand on a list of countries the IMF said are best-positioned to hurdle economic obstacles. The IMF’s assessment was based on an analysis of a country’s historical track record and its existing debt level, the Brisbane Times reports.