West Australia’s centre-left party re-elected after tough COVID measures

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The centre-left Labor party secured re-election in Australia’s fifth most populous state on Sunday as voters backed the party for implementing some of the country’s most stringent restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Labor is projected to win all but seven seats in Western Australia’s parliament.

“The magnitude of what happened today is not lost on me. With it comes great responsibility,” state Premier Mark McGowan told supporters in Perth, Western Australia’s capital.

The election was seen a referendum on McGowan’s hardline handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Western Australia taking a restrictive approach to the containing the spread – including shutting its domestic border to the rest of the country for months – the state has recorded fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths.

Australia has reported just over 29,000 coronavirus infections and 909 COVID-19 deaths.