SYDNEY - Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called federal elections for May 21 on Sunday, launching a come-from-behind battle to stay in power after three years rocked by floods, bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. Morrison’s conservative government is struggling to woo Australia’s 17 million voters, lagging behind the opposition Labor party in a string of opinion polls despite presiding over a rebounding economy with a 13-year-low jobless rate of four percent. “This election is about you. No one else. It’s about our country, and it’s about its future,” Morrison said.

“I know Australians have been through a very tough time. I also know that Australia continues to face very tough challenges in the years ahead,” he told a news conference in Canberra. Polls show much of the electorate distrusts the 53-year-old leader, who fashions himself as a typical Australian family man and is unafraid of advertising his Pentecostal Christian faith.

In a punishing run-up to the vote, politicians, including two disaffected members of his own Liberal Party, have accused him of being a bully and an autocrat, one saying he had “no moral compass”.