The Labor Party in Australia’s Queensland state was on track on Saturday to retain power in an election overshadowed by COVID-19, with voters approving the strict measures that put the state at odds with the national government.
Final results were expected late into Saturday night, but a partial count showed Labor was polling well at a primary vote of 40.8% with the Liberal National Party on 34.2%, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
“The early numbers are strong, but it’s a little early to call,” Wayne Swan, the president of the Australian Labor Party said, according to local media.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of the country’s third-most populous state, has adopted stringent anti-virus controls, including the closure of state borders, causing friction with Prime Minister Scott Morrison who wants internal borders open to boost an economic recovery.
Morrison, leader of the centre-right Liberal Party, on Saturday backed Palaszczuk’s opponent Deb Frecklington, leader of the Liberal National Party of Queensland.