Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party on Saturday secured a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election, The Guardian reported. The mandate means that Arden could form the country’s first single-party government in decades. New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, leading to a succession of multi-party governments.
With more than 90% of the votes counted, Labour Party won 49%, while the Opposition National Party secured 27%. Opposition leader leader Judith Collins called Ardern to concede defeat and congratulated her on the “outstanding result”.
“New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years,” Ardern told supporters at Auckland town hall minutes after her victory. “We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
Thanking her supporters for the victory, the prime minister said that elections do not have to be divisive. “I cannot imagine a people I would feel more privileged to work on behalf of, to work alongside and to be prime minister for,” she added. “Tonight’s result does give Labour a very strong and a very clear mandate.”
Labour President Claire Szabo praised Arden for the results. “There’s no doubt the strong, great leadership we’ve had from Jacinda Ardern has been a massive factor in all this,” she said.
Ardern’s globally lauded responses to a mass shooting last year by a white supremacist in Christchurch and the coronavirus pandemic have been well received at home too. She removed all coronavirus restrictions last week after a second series of lockdowns and physical distancing guidelines had been placed to eliminate coronavirus transmission in the country of 5 million. She was praised for her “go hard, go early” approach to tackle the pandemic, when others have been struggling across the world.
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