Kennett Government Struggling To Survive; Big Anti-Liberal Swing; Rural Areas Turn Against Coalition; Unexpected Result Stuns Victoria

The Kennett coalition government is struggling to survive a large swing against it as counting continues in today’s election.

At 9pm tonight, it was not clear that the Government would even secure a majority in the lower house. The government may be forced to rely on independents to retain government.

The ALP has won the following seats from the coalition: Oakleigh, Narracan, Ballarat East, Ballarat West, Ripon, Tullamarine and Gisborne. The loss of Gisborne by the government is a major blow, since Health Minister Rob Knowles was tipped as the next deputy leader.

The election may ultimately hinge on the result in Frankston East where the election has been declared invalid following the death of the sitting independent and former Liberal member, Peter McClellan.

The ALP is also expected to win Seymour from the Liberals.

In Geelong, the ALP is likely to regain the seat from Housing Minister Ann Henderson.

The ALP appears likely to retain Mitcham, a seat it won at a by-election in 1997.

The overall election result could also hinge on the result in Gippsland East, where it is possible that an independent will win the seat from the National Party.

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