The outcome of the Australian general election will not be known for days, the country's British-born prime minister said today.
Julia Gillard, whose family is originally from Wales, clashed with rival Tony Abbott, who was born in London, over the issue of republicanism during the election campaign.
But as the day progressed no overall winner emerged, with Ms Gillard saying the result was "too close to call".
Earlier this week, she called for the country to cut royal links when the Queen's reign ends, while Mr Abbott, who heads the conservative opposition coalition, sees no need to change the status quo.
Speaking to supporters at her Labour Party headquarters in Melbourne, Ms Gillard recalled former American president Bill Clinton's post-election comment that: "The people have spoken, but it is going to take a little while to determine exactly what they have said."
The 48-year-old thanked supporters, who chanted her name as she took to the stage, and said: "Obviously this is too close to call. There are many seats where the result is undecided and where it will take a number of days of counting to determine the result.
"Friends, as you know, in a democracy every vote is important. Every vote must be counted and we will see that happen."
Ms Gillard said she would continue to lead the country until the result is "clearly known".
In her speech, she congratulated Mr Abbott for his campaign, saying: "He has been a formidable advocate for his side of politics."
This election campaign, sparked when Ms Gillard called a snap election after toppling Kevin Rudd as prime minister, is the first time the issue of republicanism has been prominent since the 1990s.
Ms Gillard, who emigrated to Australia from Barry, South Wales, with parents John and Moira when she was five, said the Queen's death would be an appropriate time for Australia to cut its ties with the British monarchy.
She said: "What I would like to see as prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a model for the republic.
"I think the appropriate time for this nation to move to be a republic is when we see the monarch change.
"Obviously I'm hoping for Queen Elizabeth that she lives a long and happy life, and having watched her mother I think there's every chance that she will."
Meanwhile Liberal leader Mr Abbott, who was born in London, said: "I think that our existing constitutional arrangements have worked well in the past and I see no reason whatsoever why they can't continue to work well in the future."
The closely fought build-up to the election was compared to the weeks leading up to Britain's general election, with neither leader landing knock-out blows in TV debates.
And now, with no clear victor and the winners of just a few seats still to be decided, it seems the Australian election may echo Britain's in more ways than one.Reuse content