Canberra [Australia], May 21 (ANI/Xinhua): Australia's federal election kicked off on Saturday morning across the country, where either the Coalition or the Labor party need to garner a majority in a close-run contest.
More than 8 million Australians are expected to cast their ballots at more than 7,000 polling booths across the country, according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), and a record number of voters have already cast their ballots prior to the election day.
The voting opened at 8 a.m. local time on Saturday (2200 GMT on Friday) and will remain open until 6 p.m. local time when counting votes will start.
In order to form a majority government, either the Coalition or the Labor must win at least 76 out of 151 seats in the lower house of Parliament -- the House of Representatives.
According to Australia's opinion poll Newspoll published on Friday night, the Labor leads the Coalition 53-47 on a two-party preferred basis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese were tied in their personal battle, with 42 percent of respondents picking each as their preferred prime minister.
The poll found that 36 percent of voters intend to vote for the Labor as their first preference and 35 percent for the Coalition.
If neither the Labor nor the Coalition wins enough seats to form a clear majority, the election result will be declared a "hung parliament."In that case, both Morrison and Albanese will enter negotiations with minor parties and independent Members of Parliament seeking their support to form a minority government as the Labor did in 2010.
It is mandatory for all Australians aged 18 and over to vote in the election. According to the Australian Electoral Commission, more than 17 million people have enrolled to vote this year. (ANI/Xinhua)