MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will return to parliament after winning essential elections for his seat, just over a month after he was kicked out of a dual citizenship crisis that cost him the coalition conservative the government is its majority.
Joyce, who was widely expected to win, said he was "completely honored" for his considerable victory at the New South Wales rural headquarters in New England, where it appears that he will increase his primary vote by 10 additional points.
Election badyst ABC Antony Green reported that Joyce is on track to achieve a primary vote of approximately 64 percent, a significant increase in his primary from 52.3 percent in the last federal elections in 2016.
The victory It gives the government and its embattled prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a much needed respite, as it restores its scant majority of a seat. The government is already claiming victory as a vote of confidence in its performance, despite a series of polls showing its growing unpopularity.
"This has been a dazzling victory," Turnbull told his supporters when he joined Joyce at a bar in the town of Tamworth to celebrate the victory.
The exit polls predicted "the biggest swing of government in the history of partial elections in Australia," Turnbull said, adding that it was a sign of confidence in his government.
Joyce added that he was "completely and completely humble" after winning in a record field of 17 candidates.
"I tell the people of New England, I never take anything for granted, and for every person who voted for us and voted for us for the first time," he said, ABC reported.
Joyce was one of the "Seven Citizens" whose eligibility to sit in parliament was questioned when it was discovered that they were citizens with dual nationality, a state that federal politicians are prohibited under the Australian constitution to avoid division of loyalties.
The Superior Court ruled on October 27 that Joyce, along with four of the other seven legislators, was not eligible to remain in parliament, forcing a by-election. It was discovered that Joyce was a dual citizen of New Zealand, a state that has been rescinded since then.
A partial election occurs outside of the usual three-year election cycle, usually when a representative decides to leave parliament early or dies.
The position of vice president, traditionally held by a member of the badociated youth coalition, the National Party, has remained vacant since the High Court ruling.
The result comes at a difficult time for Turnbull, who earlier this week was forced into a shameful reversal of his long-standing position against a Royal Commission in the banking and financial sector of the country affected by the scandal in the middle of the growing political pressure.
The last day of the campaign for the by-elections was marred by a call from the state leader and Deputy Prime Minister of New South Wales, John Barilaro, for Turnbull to resign as a "Christmas present" for the nation.
The comments were quickly rejected by the legislators of the Liberal Party and Joyce, who said they were "very useless" and "insulting".
It was the latest in a long line of internal turmoil that hit the coalition throughout the year, which has contributed to its poor performance in polls throughout the year.
Information from Alana Schetzer; edition of Diane Craft