Australian PM John Howard wins fourth term

Australians will vote on October 9 in a cliff-hanger election pitting the conservative government against centre-left Labour, with national security and the economy key issues.

&to=http:// ' target=_blank>Prime Minister John Howard has ended months of pre-election campaigning by announcing the date when his Liberal/National coalition government will seek a fourth consecutive term in office.

Mr Howard said: "This election will be about trust. Who do you trust to keep the economy strong and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to lead the fight, on Australia's behalf, against international terrorism?", says iTV News.

"This nation stands on the threshold of a new era of great achievement ... a nation which can achieve anything it wants, if its sets its mind to it," a beaming Howard told supporters at a downtown &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Sydney hotel late on Saturday.

Analysts said financial markets would welcome an end to any election uncertainty, but expected no immediate impact on stock prices or the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Australian dollar. The resounding nature of Howard's win also removed the remote risk of a hung parliament, informs Reuters.

But there was a backlash against Mr Howard in his own Sydney seat of Bennelong, where he suffered a 3 per cent swing against him after a "Not Happy, John" campaign, led by former Liberal Party president John Valder and former Office of National Assessments analyst Andrew Wilkie, who won 16 per cent of the vote as the Greens candidate.

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