News State NT News Counting resumes in tight Northern Territory election race

Counting resumes in tight Northern Territory election race

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner arrives to Labor's election headquarters in Darwin, Saturday. Photo: AAP
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Vote counting is set to resume in the knife-edge Northern Territory election, with incumbent Labor edging closer to a majority.

The three-way race, which includes the County Liberal Party and newcomers Territory Alliance, is the first major political test of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner told supporters he was “very confident Labor will form the next government” following Saturday’s poll.

The battle is coming down to a handful of key seats including Arnhem, Barkly, Brennan, Braitling, Daly, Katherine and Namatjira.

Labor was ahead on primary votes in Arnhem and Katherine on Sunday but the two-party preferred count has to be checked after the wrong candidates’ names were used.

The party was also ahead of the Country Liberal Party in Barkly by 102 two-party preferred when vote counting ended for the day.

The race is tighter in Daly and Namatjira, where the CLP led Labor by seven and 25 votes respectively on a two-party preferred basis.

On Saturday night, Labor secured 38.9 per cent of the primary vote to the CLP’s 31.8 per cent.

Mr Gunner’s team was on track to take at least 12 seats in the 25-seat assembly but on Sunday, two seats swung back to the CLP.

Despite this, Labor scrutineers expect 13 seats will be secured, delivering a majority. Labor won 18 seats in the 2016 poll.

A formal declaration of the poll is not scheduled until September 7, three days after postal votes close.

Counting continues on Monday, with recounts of the two-party preferred ballots for Arnhem, Blain, Fong Lim, Johnston and Katherine.