Incumbent Ripon MP Louise Staley will serve a second term in state parliament after being formally declared as the successful candidate in the district of Ripon.
The Victorian Electoral Commission made the official confirmation at the Ripon electoral office in Stawell on Monday morning.
Ms Staley finished 15 votes ahead of Labor’s Sarah De Santis following a recount of ballot papers.
Ms De Santis had been 31 votes clear after what was meant to be the final distribution of preferences on Tuesday, but a call for a recount from Ms Staley resulted in a swing in her favour.
“After the distribution of preferences, Louise Staley achieved an absolute majority,” Ripon election manager Iain Maclean said.
Ms Staley will serve as the MP for Ripon for another four years, having won the seat in a close count in 2014.
In that election, Ms Staley finished just 601 votes ahead of Labor’s Daniel McGlone.
Ms Staley said she was relieved to have the long process finished.
“I am so honoured and delighted to be standing here today as the re-elected member for Ripon,” she said at the formal declaration on Monday.
“I know that Ms De Santis has not had the result she wanted but there can only be one winner. I know that she worked very hard and I also know that the past fortnight must have been very very difficult for her as it was for me.
“This has been a rollercoaster right from election night. This is emotionally a very difficult process but it is part of our democratic process.”
It will be the second term Ms Staley will serve in the opposition.
She said despite not sitting in government she will continue to campaign for the constituents in Ripon.
“My first priority is to hold Labor to a number of commitments made,” she said.
“We both announced we would fund the redevelopment of Maryborough Hospital so I will make sure the people of Maryborough get what they were promised.
“I also made a number of announcements Labor did not match like the redevelopment of Wedderburn sporting facilities or upgrades to Ararat’s Marian College that I know people of those communities want and need.
“I will be working hard to make sure they get delivered too.”
Ms Staley made special mention to volunteers who helped during her campaign as well as members of “bush user groups”.
“I have stood with them in trying to retain access to Ripon’s forests and that fight is not over,” she said.
“I recommit to helping them maintain where Ripon’s forests are now.”
Ms Staley received 20035 votes or 50.02 per cent of the two-part preferred count.
She said despite winning by such a narrow margin she will continue to represent all members of the Ripon district.
“It has been a marginal seat for the entire time I have held it, I represent all constituents,” Ms Staley said.
“I can only be who I am, I work as hard as I can and will continue to do that.
“Most of our work we do on a day-to-day basis is helping people and it has nothing to do with who they vote for.”