Australian PM asks independents to save government

CANBERRA — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she started negotiating with independent lawmakers Sunday in a bid to cling to power because no major party won a majority of parliamentary seats in Australia's general elections.
Gillard said she hoped to enlist support for her center-left Labor Party and has held preliminary talks with three independents in the House of Representatives, an independent candidate whose seat is not yet assured and a lawmaker from the Greens party.
Both the center-left Labor, which had ruled for the past three years, and the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition opposition have conceded that neither is likely to claim the 76 seats needed to form government in the 150-seat House of Representatives.
"It is clear that neither party has earned the right to government in its own right," Gillard told reporters. "It's my intention to negotiate in good faith an effective agreement to form government."