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Turnbull dissolves parliament, kicks off election campaign

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dissolved parliament to officially kick off a two-month election campaign.

Turnbull announced the dissolution of parliament on Monday to enter one of the longest election campaigns in the country’s history.

He said he had to call the election several months early after the Senate repeatedly blocked legislation.

Australia’s constitution allows for an early election when the Senate twice blocks a piece of legislation that has been passed by the lower house.

On Sunday, Turnbull confirmed early elections for both houses of the parliament for July 2.

Speaking at an election campaign in Queensland on Monday, he said, “We will be talking about our national economic plan every single day.”

“Jobs and growth. Confidence. Australia — its future. That’s what this election is about,” the premier stated.

Labor Party leader Bill Shorten (AFP photo)

Turnbull, whose Liberal-National ruling coalition is running neck-and-neck in opinion polls with the center-left Labor opposition, called for election just eight months after deposing his predecessor Tony Abbott.

He said there was a “clear choice” between him and Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten who aims to replace Turnbull for a three-year term. Shorten’s Labor Party needs to gain 21 seats in the lower house to win power.

Opinion polls on Monday pointed to a tight race, showing Turnbull’s coalition winning 51 to 49 percent.

Turnbull replaced his unpopular predecessor, Abbott, in a party coup in September last year, only two years after the coalition government was elected.


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