In New Zealand, the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

In New Zealand, the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

“I'm a human being. We give as much as we can for as long as we can, and then the time comes. For me, that moment has come,” Jacinda Ardern said at a meeting of her Labor Party.

“I don't have enough energy for four more years,” she said, adding that she would leave her position on February 7.

Jacinda Ardern, 42, became prime minister in a coalition government in 2017, before leading the centre-left Labor Party to a landslide victory in the next election three years later.

During her tenure, she faced the COVID-19 pandemic, a deadly volcanic eruption, the country's worst-ever attack, and the 2019 killing of 51 Muslim worshipers at a Christchurch mosque by a white supremacist.

Hugely popular overseas, where she has appeared on the covers of Vogue and Time magazines, she has long enjoyed a record approval rating in New Zealand as well, where the media sometimes speak of “jassindamania”. But she has recently witnessed a sharp decline in her party and her personal popularity in opinion polls, as the economic situation deteriorates and the right-wing opposition regains its strength.

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“It's a long time coming,” Esther Hedges, a resident of Cambridge, on New Zealand's North Island, complained on Thursday that it has destroyed the economy and food prices have skyrocketed. The 65-year-old added: “I'm not happy with her and I don't know anyone.” Happy with it.”

For Christina Sayer, 38, Jacinda Ardern, by contrast, is “the best prime minister we have”. “I love her type of personality and she cares about people. I'm sorry to see her go.”

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Elections are on October 14

Last month, Jacinda Ardern's stress was evident when she was inadvertently caught on microphone calling an opposition official an “arrogant idiot”.

In her first public appearance since Parliament began its summer recess a month ago, Jacinda Ardern made clear on Thursday that she was hoping to use this break to find the energy needed to continue governing. “But I couldn't do it,” she admitted.

She announced that the next elections will be held on October 14, and that she will continue until then to exercise her mandate as a representative. Recent opinion polls give preference in these elections to the center-right coalition at the expense of the Labor Party. But Jacinda Ardern confirmed that this was not the reason for her departure.

“I will not leave because I believe we cannot win the next election, but because I believe we can, and we will,” she said. She said her resignation would take effect no later than February 7, and that the Labor Party would vote on a new leader within three days.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson immediately announced that he would not be a candidate to succeed Jacinda Ardern.

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