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  • Jacinda Ardern (R) and chief of staff Raj Nahna arrive at Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand, Oct. 20, 2020.

    Jacinda Ardern (R) and chief of staff Raj Nahna arrive at Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand, Oct. 20, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 October 2020
Opinion

Her biggest challenge will be to lift New Zealand's economy, which is in recession for the first time in eleven years.

Labor Party leader Jacinda Ardern was re-elected as New Zealand Prime Minister with 49 percent of the vote, while the conservative National Party got 27 percent of the vote.

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This victory allows Labor to win 64 seats out of 120 seats in Parliament and govern without the need for alliances, a feat that no political party in New Zealand has achieved since the 1996 electoral reform.

Still, Ardern announced that he would seek to form a coalition government together with the Green Party, which won 8 percent of the vote and 10 seats.

"Elections are not always good for bringing people together, but they don't always have to divide them," PM Ardern said.

Her triumph, however, was not a surprise as polls indicated that she captured the majority of voting intentions after having demonstrated great leadership in two of the major crises that the country suffered during her tenure.

In 2019, she faced the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history - the shooting of two mosques in the city of Christchurch, which killed 50 people and injured dozens.

Then, in 2020, the Labor PM stood out for her successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused 1,940 infections but only 25 deaths so far.

This outcome was possible because her administration ordered strict containment when the number of cases and community circulation of the virus were low.

For her next three years in office, Ardern has pledged to implement policies related to issues such as climate change, promoting funding for disadvantaged schools, and raising income taxes among the highest earners.

Her biggest challenge, however, will be to lift New Zealand's economy, which is in recession for the first time in eleven years.

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