Australian Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard retained power by a tiny, ONE-seat majority Tuesday after winning the backing of two key independent MPs following inconclusive polls.
The country's first woman leader, who took power in a party revolt just 10 weeks ago, scraped over the line to form a fragile minority government with support from the "kingmakers", after 17 days of frantic negotiations.
Gillard ended with 76 seats in the 150-seat parliament, with Abbott's Liberal/National coalition on 74, the closest possible margin.
The obscure independents, suddenly handed a starring role in the political drama, on Monday announced parliamentary reforms agreed by both sides including having an independent speaker, rather than a member of the ruling party.
Both Oakeshott and Windsor said their main priority was picking the side most likely to provide a stable government capable of seeing out its three-year term and strongly backed Labor plans for a national broadband network.
Independent Rob Oakeshott, the last MP who declare his support for Julia Gillard as PM, said.
"I will ... give confidence and supply to government, and in effect that means confidence and supply in Julia Gillard. Unless, and I emphasise unless, exceptional circumstances determine otherwise."The nail-biting climax caps more than two weeks of furious horse-trading after August 21 elections produced the first hung parliament in 70 years, extending a period of unusual political upheaval.
Gillard staged a shock party revolt against elected prime minister Kevin Rudd in June and announced polls just three weeks later, hoping to ride a wave of public support.
But her anticipated honeymoon period failed to materialise as many voters rejected both main parties and turned to the environment-focused Greens, which enjoyed a record ballot share.
The knife-edge campaign, election and its aftermath have kept Australia's government in limbo for nearly two months, in the worst political crisis since the queen's representative sacked an elected prime minister in 1975.