The new prime minister is a conservative
New Zealand votes for Jacinda Ardern’s party
October 14, 2023, 5:08 pm
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New Zealanders voted. After six years in power, the New Zealand Labor Party is suffering huge losses. The biggest winner is the conservative National Party, which is likely to form a coalition with the right-wing liberal ACT party.
There will be a change of government in New Zealand after the general election. New Zealand Labor Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who took over from fellow People’s Party member Jacinda Ardern in January, conceded defeat after the vote. Meanwhile, he congratulated his expected successor, Christopher Luxon, the National Party’s leading candidate, who won 55 of the 120 seats in the new parliament after almost all the votes were counted.
Forming a government requires obtaining at least 61 seats out of 120 seats in Parliament. Luxon is therefore likely to rely on a coalition with the right-wing liberal party ACT, which received about nine percent of the vote and eleven seats in parliament.
Luxon explained that New Zealanders “looked for hope and voted for change”. During the campaign, both Hipkins and Luxon promised to alleviate rising fuel and food prices and address the housing shortage. Luxon stressed that his National Party will “build the economy and provide tax breaks.” Until four years ago, the politician worked in the private sector and was chairman of Air New Zealand for seven years.
The Social Democrats were voted out of power after six years in government
Hipkins told Labor supporters in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, that the Labor Party “is not in a position to form a government again.” However, he is “proud of what we have achieved in the past six years.” After counting 98.7 percent of the votes, the Labor Party, which is currently in government, faces its worst electoral defeat ever, winning only 34 parliamentary seats.
Hipkins has been criticized for New Zealand’s increasingly weak economic development. He admitted defeat. He added: “Under the current circumstances, the Labor Party will not be able to form a government.” The party is the biggest loser of votes. According to calculations, she obtained about 26% of the votes, and thus lost half of her previous terms in Parliament.
Short term for Hipkins
Hipkins became Prime Minister in January after his world-famous predecessor Jacinda Ardern unexpectedly resigned from his post. Ardern stressed at the time that she no longer had the strength to continue running the country. In 2020, Ardern’s Labor Party won a landslide victory. During her time as Prime Minister, the charismatic politician made a name for herself primarily through her sensitive management of crises, for example after the deadly attacks on two mosques in Christchurch and during the coronavirus pandemic. However, she has also been controversial in her country due to her strict pandemic policy.
The election result was less close than previously indicated by opinion polls. According to the numbers, Luxon does not need an uneasy alliance with the populist, anti-immigration New Zealand First party to govern. Due to the sharp rise in the cost of living, especially in food, many New Zealanders are now hoping for economic policy reforms. There were no accurate numbers on voter turnout, but it is likely to be high. There were sometimes long queues in front of polling stations. About 3.8 million citizens were called to the polls. Voting has been possible since October 2, and about one million people have taken advantage of this offer before Election Day.
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