News Liberal Party edges closer to forming a majority government in Tasmania
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Liberal Party edges closer to forming a majority government in Tasmania

Liberal Leader Peter Gutwein enters the tally room, with his wife Amanda Gutwein-Burke and children Finn and Millie. Photo: AAP
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The Tasmanian Liberals are on track to secure a majority government after further counting revealed the party has been gaining ground in one of two seats that remain in doubt.

Despite claiming victory in Saturday’s state election, Liberal Leader Peter Gutwein needs just one more seat to form a majority government in Tasmania.

With 81 per cent of the island’s vote counted, the Liberals are edging closer to gaining that final seat in the Hobart electorate of Clark.

There, independents Kristie Johnston and Sue Hickey, the former Liberal Speaker, have been polling strongly.

But election analyst Kevin Bonham said on Sunday evening that the Liberals appear likely to pick up one of the in-doubt Clark seats.

He said, however, the situation was “very complex”.

“We’re probably not going to know for sure until the preferences are distributed, which is many days away because they have to wait for all the postals to come in,” he said.

Under Tasmania’s unique Hare-Clark voting system, five MPs are elected in each of the state’s five electorates.

Independent success in one of the two Clark seats could give rise to a kingmaker.

Saturday’s election may not be known for a week but Mr Gutwein is confident of gaining the 13th seat required to deliver majority representation in the island state’s 25-member lower house.

His declaration of victory marked the first time the Liberals have won three straight terms in Tasmania.

Labor opposition leader Rebecca White, who was leader when the party lost in 2018, hasn’t spoken publicly since conceding on Saturday night.

Labor appears to have clinched at least eight seats and the Greens two.

The election result follows a recent trend of incumbent governments being returned, with all four state and territory elections since coronavirus going that way.

Tasmania went to the polls after Ms Hickey quit the Liberals to run as an independent, plunging the government into minority.

-with AAP