You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

CLP can recover: Willem Westra van Holthe

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 Neda Vanovac

Sometimes you have to destroy something in order to rebuild it, says the former deputy leader of the Country Liberals Party, who is locked in a tight contest to retain his seat of Katherine.

Willem Westra van Holthe on Tuesday morning was 41 votes behind Northern Territory Labor's Sandra Nelson on a two-party preferred basis, with 74 per cent of votes counted.

If Labor wins, it will be the first time it has ever taken the conservative top end seat, and is another sign of how far the CLP has fallen after its election night drubbing.

Of 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly, the CLP has so far locked in only one, with Labor taking 15, independents taking three, and six still in play. The CLP may pick up two more.

When asked if the party could recover, Mr Westra van Holthe told the ABC: "There is an opportunity for the Country Liberals to regroup and grow back to a political force.

"It's going to take quite a lot of soul-searching ... sometimes you need to break something down before you can build it back up again."

He said there were numerous issues that contributed to the poor result, including the revelation of his extra-marital affair and questionable business dealings while a minister.

"Sadly politics sometimes intercedes into your personal life and vice versa. I think some of that has been used against me and influences some of the voters out there," he said.

It remains unclear whether the CLP will have enough seats to form a viable opposition, or whether it may be pushed to form a loose coalition with independents.

Mr Westra van Holthe said Labor's enormous majority was "bad for democracy".

"Having such a small number of people sitting in opposition means the government cannot be held to account well enough ... the government would be able to run its own agenda without any checks and balances at all and that concerns me more than anything else," he said.

If he retained his seat he said he had no intention "at this stage" of leaving the CLP.

"Although we've for lots and lots of reasons run off the rails, I think the foundations of the party are strong," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon