Politics

Ardern on track to historic New Zealand election victory

By Rocio Otoya

Sydney (Australia), Oct 16 (efe-epa).- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is the favorite in Saturday’s elections, in which her Labor Party has a chance of obtaining a historic victory that could allow her to govern alone, a potential left turn to the new government.

According to the two most recent polls, Labor could win 59 to 61 seats of parliament’s available 120, raising the question of whether they will need to ally with the Green Party or obtain an absolute majority that would allow them to govern alone, the first time in more than two decades.

“I’m using every hour left to remind people to vote,” Ardern wrote Friday on Facebook with photos in which she appeared surrounded by supporters, the eve of the elections, which will be accompanied by two referendums on the legalization of recreational marijuana and euthanasia.

Rival Judith Collins appeared in a video carrying banners of her National Party accompanied by several of her candidates in Auckland, in an attempt to attract the vote of the undecided and conservatives who sympathize with minority formations.

According to polls, the National Party would win between 40 and 41 of the seats, while the Green and the liberal ACT would ensure a smaller parliamentary representation.

The big loser would be New Zealand First, current partner with the Greens of the ruling coalition, which would get 3 percent of the vote, below the mandatory minimum 5 percent to enter Parliament.

If Ardern obtained an absolute majority, “a more transformative government could be seen,” Jennifer Lees-Marshment, an expert in political management at the University of Auckland, told EFE. She recalled there have been “unexpected results” such as Donald Trump’s election or the Brexit referendum in 2016.

“There may be unforeseen events because the Greens have problems to maintain the support of their bases because the decisions they adopted as part of the government coalition were against their principles,” she said.

As in all parts of the world, COVID-19 has had a great economic impact on New Zealand, whose government has been praised worldwide for its rapid and effective management of the pandemic, which included strict confinements and the closure of international borders.

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