New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s party Saturday won the country’s general election in a landslide, achieving an absolute majority and securing her a second term.
With two-thirds of the vote counted, her center-left Labour Party had already won more than 49% of the vote and was expected to secure roughly 64 seats in the country’s 120-member parliament.
The figure was high enough for opposition leader Judith Collins to concede and telephone Ardern to congratulate her.
“Congratulations on your result because it is, I believe, an outstanding result for the Labour Party. It has been a tough campaign,” Collins said in the city of Auckland.
Her conservative National Party would take about 35 seats in what seems to be its poorest election showing in nearly 20 years.
No political leader has secured an absolute majority since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, leading to several coalition governments.
Ardern’s result is better than expected and it is likely to give Labour its strongest victory since 1946.
She was highly praised for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused only 25 deaths in the country of 5 million.
She showed empathy and decisive action on gun control after a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslims in an attack on mosques last year.
Ardern also displayed strong leadership in handling the aftermath of a volcanic eruption at White Island, also known as Whakaari, that killed 21 and left dozens injured in December.
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