NZ PM wins landslide victory in general elections

Wellington, Oct 17 (IANS) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday won a landslide victory in the country’s general elections held earlier in the day, securing her a second term in office.
With most ballots tallied, Ardern’s ruling Labour Party has won 49 per cent of the vote and is projected to win 64 seats – enough for an outright majority, which will be a first in the country since it introduced a voting system known as Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP) in 1996, the BBC reported.
According to the Electoral Commission, opposition centre-right National Party, currently on 27 per cent, has admitted defeat in Saturday’s poll.
The ACT New Zealand and Green parties came in third with 8 per cent of the votes.
Addressing her supporters following the results, Ardern said: “New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in almost 50 years.
“We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
After conceding, National Party’s leader Judith Collins congratulated Ardern and promised her party would be a “robust opposition”, adding “we will be back”.
Saturday’s election was initially scheduled for September 19 but was postponed due to a second Covid-19 outbreak.
The previous Parliament, which was elected on September 23, 2017, was officially dissolved on September 6 paving the way for the polls, Xinhua news agency.
Polling stations across the country opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m.
More than a million people have already voted in early polling which opened on October 3.
Besides the general election vote, New Zealanders also cast their ballots for two referendums on end of life choice and legalisation of the recreational use of cannabis.
Preliminary referendum results will be released on October 30, and the official results of the election and referendums will be released on November 6.

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