The nationalist New Zealand First Party has emerged the potential kingmaker in the general elections held on Saturday, as Prime Minister Bill English’s National Party won most votes but fell short of a majority.
The National Party clocked 46% of all votes, while rival Labour Party managed 35.8%, the final tally from New Zealand’s Electoral Commission showed. New Zealand First Party, led by controversial anti-immigration figure Winston Peters, had a 7.5% vote share.
New Zealand has a proportional voting system in its general elections. Their vote shares mean that the National Party bagged 58 seats and the Labour Party, 45. They will now attempt to strike alliances to reach the 61-seat mark for a majority in the 120-seat Parliament.
English said negotiations with Peters to form government will begin in the next few days. “...We go into negotiations with the intention of forming a stable government that enables this country to deliver for New Zealanders,” the prime minister told supporters, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The Labour Party’s Jacinda Ardern said, “Sometimes MMP [mixed member proportional voting system] leaves us with an outcome that requires a little bit of extra work.”