One of Australia’s kingmaker independent lawmakers said Tuesday he will support opposition leader Tony Abbott’s conservative coalition after inconclusive elections, bringing the party closer to forming a minority government.
Bob Katter’s decision means that Abbott still needs the support of undeclared independents Tony Windsor and Robb Oakeshott if his Liberal Party is to gain a majority of 76 seats needed to form a government. Windsor and Oakeshott were expected to announce later Tuesday whether they’ll support the Liberals or whether they will back Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s centre-left Labour Party.
Mr. Katter’s decision means the Liberals and Labour each now hold 74 seats. If neither leader gets to 76, another election will be called.
The Aug. 21 federal elections failed to deliver any party a majority for the first time since 1940.
Mr. Katter said his decision would have no bearing on the decisions of his fellow indepedents.
Mr. Katter said he had not told Gillard or Abbott of his decision before announcing his move to reporters.
“I haven’t told anybody at all,” he said.