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New Zealand Election: Voting Amid Crisis

2023 Oct 14, 11:59, Wellington [New Zealand]

After former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern suddenly resigned in January, New Zealand is holding polls on Saturday in a general election, reported CNN noting that there will be a tight race between the two major parties.

Amid the economic crisis, the polls are going to be held after nine months of Ardern's resignation.

However, according to the final polls, the main opposition New Zealand National Party led by Christopher Luxon has been leading over Ardern's successor Prime Minister Chris Hipkins of New Zealand Labour Party but there has been a late rise in support for his center-left Labour Party ahead of the vote, CNN reported citing Radio NZ.

The general election is going to be held on the same day as Australia's Voice referendum to recognize Indigenous Australians in the constitution and create a permanent body to allow them to speak directly to the government.

Although neither of these parties is expected to win enough seats to form a government outright, CNN reported that the nationalist NZ First party and its leader Winston Peters could potentially become kingmakers in a coalition administration.

Coalitions are the norm under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional system, which was introduced in 1996.

The Labour Party was the only party to win a majority of votes and govern alone in the current political system in 2020, as Ardern won a landslide second term buoyed by her success at handling the country's coronavirus outbreak.

But, Ardern announced her resignation in January, stressing that she no longer had enough fuel in the tank to contest an election and further passed the reins of her party on to Hipkins, according to CNN.

The decision from Ardern came after five and a half years of tenure leading New Zealand through the coronavirus pandemic.

Notably, it is the first election in New Zealand after the end of Covid lockdown measures. The government's "go hard and go early" approach to the pandemic saw New Zealand impose some of the world's strictest border rules, separating families and shutting out almost all foreigners for almost two years. 


New Zealand elections Jacinda Ardern New Zealand National Party Christopher Luxon Chris Hipkins New Zealand Labour Party
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