Ian Patrick, FISM News
New Zealand’s re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she would form a government within three weeks but declined to say whether she would rule alone or form a coalition. Ardern delivered the biggest election victory for her center-left Labour Party in half a century. Her new majority in parliament will allow her to form the first single-party government since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.
“Whilst there will be another three weeks before we have that final result, my expectation is that we will work on the government formation within that frame,” Ardern told a news conference.
Labour won 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament. For the last three years, Ardern was in a coalition with the Green Party and the nationalist New Zealand First party. Although she no longer needs support, coalitions are the norm in New Zealand as parties look to build consensus.
The Green Party returned with a bigger mandate of 7.6% of the vote, but NZ First, led by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, did not gather enough support to return to parliament. The Maori Party, representing the indigenous community, which is about 15% of the population, made a comeback to parliament.
Ardern employs progressive, democratic governance and retains a solid international following with her promotion of issues including women’s rights, social justice, and multilateralism. During her time in office, she has dealt with COVID-19 in the country and handled the massacres at the Christchurch mosques and a fatal volcano eruption. There has been criticism of her economic policies, and a looming summer season with no international tourists will be a major test.
Sourced from Reuters American Wire, edited for brevity