Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could finally retain power after gaining the support of a key independent on Thursday. Still the closeness of the vote signaled more tough political and economic times ahead.
Turnbull flew to northern Queensland state to win reluctant support from Bob Katter, a maverick former member of the ruling conservative coalition who is now a potential kingmaker if Turnbull is unable to win the 76 lower house seats needed to form government outright.
"Today we are announcing our support ... for a Turnbull government. I do so with no great enthusiasm," Katter told reporters. "I will maintain my right to change at any point of time in the future."
Katter said after the meeting that he had agreed to support the government if it fell short of a majority. He gave few details but said the agreement had yet to be confirmed in writing.
Katter's support gives Turnbull's coalition a total of 74 seats, according to the latest Australian Broadcasting Corp. projections, as vote counting continue.
Labor is projected to win 66 seats, meaning they would need to win the six seats still being counted and do deals with all the four remaining independents to form government, which considered extremely unlikely scenario.