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New Zealand: surprise resignation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, November 30, 2020 in Wellington.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, November 30, 2020 in Wellington. (©AFP/Archives/Marty MELVILLE)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation on Thursday January 19, 2023, taking her country by surprise by assuring no longer have “enough energy” to continue to govern after five and a half years in power and nine months before the legislative elections.

“I am human. We give as much as we can and for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, that moment has arrived”, said Jacinda Ardern during a meeting of her Labor Party. She added that she would leave office on February 7, 2023.

I just don’t have enough energy for another four years.

Jacinda ArdernPrime Minister of New Zealand

“Jacindamania”

Jacinda Ardern, 42, became prime minister in a coalition government in 2017, before leading the centre-left Labor Party to a landslide victory in the next election three years later.

During her tenure, she faced the Covid-19 pandemica deadly volcanic eruption and the country’s worst ever bombing, the killing of 51 Muslim worshipers at a Christchurch mosque by a white supremacist in 2019.

Very popular overseaswhere she made the cover of magazines vogue and Timeshe has long enjoyed record approval ratings in New Zealand as well, where the media sometimes even talked about “Jacindamania”.

” It is high time “

But she has recently seen her party and personal popularity drop in the polls as the economic situation deteriorates and the right-wing opposition regains strength.

” It is high time. She destroyed the economy and food prices have skyrocketed,” complained Esther Hedges, a resident of Cambridge, on the north island of New Zealand, on Thursday. “I’m not happy with her and I don’t know anyone who is,” the 65-year-old added.

For Christina Sayer, 38, Jacinda Ardern is on the contrary “the best Prime Minister we have had”. “I like the type of person she is and she cares about people. I’m sorry to see her go.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets a member of the Ngai Tahu tribe in Queenstown, May 30, 2021.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets a member of the Ngai Tahu tribe in Queenstown, May 30, 2021. (©Visits and Ceremonial Office/AFP/Archives/Mark Tantrum)

Elections on October 14

Last month, Jacinda Ardern’s stress was evident when she was unwittingly caught on the microphone calling an opposition leader an “arrogant asshole”.

In her first public appearance since Parliament began its summer recess a month ago, Jacinda Ardern explained on Thursday that she had hoped to use the break to find the necessary energy to continue to rule. “But I wasn’t able to do that,” she admitted.

She announced that the next elections will be held on October 14and that until then, she would continue to exercise her mandate as a deputy.

Advantage of the centre-right coalition

Recent polls give the advantage, for this election, to a centre-right coalition to the detriment of the Labor Party. But Jacinda Ardern assured that this is not the reason for her departure.

“I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the next election, but because I believe we can and we will,” she said. She said her resignation would take effect no later than February 7, and the Labor caucus would vote to appoint a new leader in three days.

Jacinda Ardern at the scene of the attack on the Christhurc mosque, March 22, 2019.
Jacinda Ardern at the scene of the attack on the Christhurc mosque, March 22, 2019. (©AFP/Archives/Marty MELVILLE)

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson immediately announced that he would not be a candidate to succeed Jacinda Ardern. She also assured that there was no secret reason behind her resignation.

I’m leaving because such a privileged position comes with great responsibility. The responsibility of knowing when you’re the right person to lead, and also when you’re not.

Jacinda ArdernPrime Minister of New Zealand

“She showed the world how to lead with intelligence and with strength”

Jacinda Ardern was in 2018 second prime minister in the world to give birth while in officeafter Pakistani Benazir Bhutto in 1990. She said she was looking forward to spending more time with her daughter Neve, who is due to start school later this year, and marrying her boyfriend, TV star Clarke Gayford.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hailed Jacinda Ardern as a head of government who has “shown the world how to lead with intelligence and with strength”.

Source: © 2023 AFP

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