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Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party registers landslide victory in New Zealand’s Covid19 election – Update

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Update 1121

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party won a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.

The mandate means Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades, and face the challenge of delivering on the progressive transformation she promised but failed to deliver in her first term, where Labour shared power with a nationalist party.

“This is a historic shift,” said political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington, describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years.

Labour was on track to win 64 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

If Labour wins more than half the seats, Ardern could form the first single-party government under the current system.

Ardern came out of her home in Auckland, waved and hugged gathered supporters. Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said she had called the prime minister to congratulate her for an “outstanding result”.

Earlier:

EPA-EFE/DAVID ROWLAND

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party was on track for a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election on Saturday, and could possibly form the first single-party government in decades.

Labour had 50.5% of the votes, ahead of the opposition National Party of Judith Collins at 25.8%, the Electoral Commission said, with 30% of ballots counted in the election that was largely a referendum on Ardern’s aggressive handling of COVID-19.

Of Ardern’s current coalition partners, the nationalist New Zealand First Party had 2.3% and the Green Party 8.2%.

Labour is on track to win 66 of the 120 seats in the country’s unicameral parliament, the highest by any party since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996.

If Labour wins more than half the seats, Ardern could form the first single-party government under the current system.

If she falls short, she is expected to continue to rely on the minor Greens while jettisoning New Zealand First.

“This is a historic shift,” political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington said, describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years.

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