Ardern to decide on coalition after winning majority in New Zealand elections

Sydney, Australia, Oct 18 (efe-epa).- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern was on Sunday in discussions about whether to form a government alone or in coalition with the Green Party, a day after her Labour Party secured an unprecedented majority in the general elections.

Ardern told reporters after her landslide victory that she had talked with leaders of the Green Party and it would take two to three weeks to officially form the government, which would have a three-year term.

“I have said to the Greens that I will talk to them next week,” said the prime minister, after confirming that she had brief conversations with Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson.

According to the provisional results, the Labour Party secured 49.1 percent of the votes and won 64 of the total 120 seats in the New Zealand parliament, allowing the charismatic 40-year-old prime minister to have the option of ruling without a coalition.

This is the first time since an electoral reform in 1996 that a political party has won a majority in the New Zealand elections

The main opposition, center-right National Party led by Judith Collins, received 27 percent of the votes, which translates into 35 seats in the house, 20 less than the last elections.

The Greens secured 7.6 percent of the votes, occupying 10 seats in the parliament, two more than the previous term.

Ardern had gained widespread public support, including international acclaim, for her quick and efficient management of the coronavirus pandemic and her response to a white supremacist terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch last year.

On Saturday, the prime minister promised to govern for all her compatriots in the face of the titanic task of reviving the economy in the midst of the pandemic, which has caused more than 1,500 infections and 25 deaths in the country.

Although it has not been hit by as serious a health crisis as many other Western countries, New Zealand is suffering the effects of its first economic recession since the financial crash in 2008. EFE-EPA


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