Gladys Berejiklian has become the first woman to be popularly elected premier in NSW history, leading the coalition to a third term.
It’s yet to be determined if the coalition will be able to govern in its own right, but Michael Daley’s Labor party cannot win enough seats to force a change of government.
The Liberal-Nationals went into Saturday’s election with 52 seats in the lower house, and would relinquish its majority if it loses six seats.
“If it’s not a strong result, it’s certainly a solid result,” Deputy Liberal leader and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told the ABC.
“I think it demonstrates the positive campaign Gladys Berejiklian has run. She set out a clear vision and positive vision for our state.”
Labor frontbencher Jodi McKay, who retained her ultra-marginal seat of Strathfield, agreed Labor could not win the seats it needed.
“It’s a disappointing result for us, but I also think this is not a victory that the government can crow about when you look at the seats that they are likely to lose,” she said.
Ms McKay said the government had possibly lost six seats – Upper Hunter, Dubbo, Barwon, Murray, Coogee and East Hills. But only the Sydney seats of Coogee and East Hills look like going to Labor.
She backed Mr Daley, who became leader only months before the election following the forced resignation of Luke Foley, to stay on as party leader.
“He has performed very, very strongly,” Ms McKay told ABC TV.
“In saying that, last week we had a bad week. We had two incidents there which I think all of us wish hadn’t happened.”
Ms McKay said a video of Mr Daley in September saying Asian migrants were taking local jobs was “very unfortunate and I for one wish that that hadn’t happened”.
The Labor leader also made some missteps during the leaders’ debate mid-week when he could not remember how much the Opposition had committed to schools and TAFE.
“They were two major setbacks for us,” she said.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said the Liberal-Nationals coalition have won at least 45 of the 47 seats needed to form majority government in the 93-seat parliament.
Labor has only 31 and cannot catch up, with only nine in doubt.
The Greens, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers look likely to win two to three seats each.
Labor needed to pick up 13 seats to clinch an outright majority.