New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wins reelection in landslide

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labour Party won a landslide victory Saturday, reaping a reward from voters for her strong response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With 98% of the vote counted, Labour had 49% of the vote. The center-right National Party, the second largest in the country, took about 27% of the vote, losing up to 19 seats in the 119-seat Parliament, including many it held for years, Radio New Zealand reported.

It was the biggest victory for the Labour Party in 50 years, and means that the 40-year-old leader can form the first single-party government since the country introduced its current system for electing members of Parliament in 1996, the Guardian reported. That gives Ardern the chance to try to deliver more progressive policies that she was unable to deliver in her first term, when her party shared power with a smaller party.

“After this result we have the mandate to accelerate our response and our recovery, and tomorrow, we start,” Ardern said in her victory speech. “We know the next few years will not be easy. The last few have not been easy either, but there have been chinks of light that have shone through even the darkest of times.

“So again, I say thank you,” she continued. “This has not been an ordinary election and this has not been an ordinary time.”

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