New Zealand’s Ardern wins his­toric sec­ond term

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

WELLING­TON: Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern won a land­slide vic­tory in New Zealand’s gen­eral elec­tion on Satur­day, lever­ag­ing suc­cess bat­tling COVID-19 into an un­prece­dented ma­jor­ity she said gave her a man­date for pro­gres­sive re­form.

Ardern’s cen­tre-left Labour Party took 64 seats in the 120-mem­ber par­lia­ment with 49 per cent of the vote, af­ter the youth­ful and charis­matic leader steered the na­tion through the up­heaval wrought by the global pan­demic.

“Thank you to the many peo­ple who gave us their vote, who trusted us to con­tinue lead­ing New Zealand’s re­cov­ery,” the 40-year-old told cheer­ing sup­port­ers.

Ardern had dubbed the vote “the COVID elec­tion” and cam­paigned on her govern­ment’s suc­cess in elim­i­nat­ing com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion of the virus, which has caused just 25 deaths in a pop­u­la­tion of five mil­lion.

The pan­demic is one of a string of emer­gen­cies that tested Ardern’s lead­er­ship dur­ing a tor­rid first term, af­ter she rode to an un­ex­pected vic­tory in 2017 polls on the back of a wave of sup­port dubbed “Jacinda-ma­nia”. She dis­played both em­pa­thy and de­ci­sive ac­tion on gun con­trol af­ter a white su­prem­a­cist gun­man killed 51 wor­ship­pers in the Christchur­ch mosques at­tack last year. Ardern again found her­self com­fort­ing a shocked na­tion when a vol­canic erup­tion at White Is­land, also known as Whakaari, killed 21 peo­ple and left dozens more with hor­rific burns.

“There’s no doubt the strong, great lead­er­ship we’ve had from Jacinda Ardern has been a mas­sive fac­tor in all this,” Labour Party pres­i­dent Claire Sz­abo said of her party’s win on broad­caster TVNZ.

Satur­day’s vote marked the first time any leader won an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity since New Zealand adopted a pro­por­tional vot­ing sys­tem in 1996 and was the party’s strong­est show­ing since World War II. Op­po­si­tion leader Ju­dith Collins con­ceded an “out­stand­ing re­sult” for Labour and con­grat­u­lated Ardern on her win.

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern

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