New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has secured a second term after her party won over half of parliament seats in the general election.
With almost 80 percent of ballots counted, Ardern’s liberal Labour Party has won 49 percent of votes and is projected to control 64 seats in the 120-seat legislature, up from the 46 seats it has held. The opposition conservative National Party scored 27 percent of votes and is down to 35 seats from the 54 it secured in the previous general election.
National Party leader Judith Collins has called Ardern to congratulate her on the victory and promised to offer “a robust opposition” to the prime minister’s second-term government.
Ardern solidified her popularity at home with a successful response to Covid-19, which kept New Zealand relatively unharmed by the coronavirus, with only 1,883 cases and 25 deaths recorded. Her government managed to stop the communal spread of the disease in March with a strict lockdown and extensive testing, and similarly curbed a new outbreak in August.
Last year she won praise for her handling of the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history, the Christchurch mosques shooting. She also moved to ban the types of firearms with most lethal potential and imposed stricter controls over legally owned weapons.
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