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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

New Zealand Prime Minister Wins 2nd Term by Landslide



SYDNEY – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party secured a second term with a landslide victory in general elections on Saturday.

“New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years,” she said in a victory speech to euphoric supporters in Auckland.

The 40-year-old Labour Party leader secured an absolute majority in parliament and is unlikely to need to form alliances with rival groups, a feat that no political formation has achieved since 1996.

With almost all of the ballots counted, Labour has won 49 percent of the vote which translates into 64 seats.

The main opposition, center-right National Party, led by Judith Collins, took 27 percent and has admitted defeat.

Collins, whose party has changed leaders three times this year, congratulated Ardern for her “exceptional” results.

Ardern gained widespread public support for her quick and efficient management of the coronavirus pandemic and her response to a white supremacist terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch last year.

“We are living in an increasingly polarized world, a place where, more and more, people have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view,” she said.

“I think in this election, New Zealanders have shown that this is not who we are.”

She promised to govern for all her compatriots in the face of the titanic task of reviving the economy in the midst of the pandemic, which has caused more than 1,500 infections and 25 deaths in the country.

Although it has not been hit by as serious a health crisis as many other Western countries, New Zealand is suffering the effects of its first economic recession since the financial crash in 2008.

Ardern has vowed the country will recover from the pandemic better and stronger than before.

She added that the three-year mandate she won on Saturday will accelerate the recovery plan, which is already underway.

Her party formed a coalition in 2017 with the Greens and nationalist New Zealand First party but is unlikely to need their support for its second term.

This is expected to give her more leeway to make good on some outstanding promises such as affordable housing, eliminating child poverty and generating clean energy.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson congratulated Ardern on her victory and said the results show Kiwis want a “strong truly progressive government.”

The Greens and ACT New Zealand each won 10 seats with around eight percent of the votes.

 

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