New Zealand elections: PM Jacinda Ardern wins a second term
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party wins in New Zealand’s general election on Saturday.
Millions have voted in New Zealand’s delayed general elections that were originally due to be in September but were postponed by a month after a renewed Covid-19 outbreak.
The early results put Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on course to win a second term, boosted by her successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Labour was on track to win 66 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament, with more than 30% of ballots tallied, Ms. Ardern’s Party has taken around 50% of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission, which is the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.
“If these numbers hold, it will be a very strong mandate,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson, a Labour MP. “People were very grateful and very happy with how we’ve handled COVID, they like the shape of the plan that we’ve got going forward from here for the economy.”
On the other hand, political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington said “This is a historic shift,” describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years.
“This is new ground,” he said.
Meanwhile, the center-right National Party is on around 26% of the vote, with the Green Party on about 8%.
New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalize euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on Oct. 30. The latter vote could make New Zealand only the third country in the world to allow the adult use and sale of cannabis nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada.