Jacinda Ardern's center-left Labour Party will lead New Zealand's government for a second term following elections on Saturday, in which voters rewarded her administration's success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opposition, National Party won 26.8% - just 35 seats in the 120-seat assembly. No party has won an outright majority since the country introduced "mixed-member proportional representation" in 1996. Going into the election, polls showed Ardern's Labour Party with a wide lead over the nearest competitor, the conservative National Party.
Speaking at a cafe near her Auckland home, Ms Ardern said she expected to form a new government within three weeks and to prioritise work on the COVID response.
Ardern's brand of compassionate politics - "be kind", became her catchphrase during the pandemic - has been championed in sharp contrast to the polarizing approach of President Trump, with whom she has occasionally butted heads.
In particular, the premier's response to the Christchurch mosque shooting - through which she embraced the country's Muslim community and introduced tough new gun laws - made global headlines, and has seen her listed as a possible Nobel Peace Prize victor.
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New Zealand eliminated community transmission for 102 days before a new cluster was discovered in August in Auckland.
The New Zealand Greens are set to grow their presence in the New Zealand parliament, on track to pick up two additional seats, giving the party a total of ten. "She told supporters that they were to build back better after the COVD crisis so to stay the course".
Early counts showed Ms Ardern's liberal Labour Party has almost double the amount of votes of its main challenger, the conservative National Party.
Ardern, 40, won the top job after the 2017 election when Labour formed an alliance with two other parties.
Even so, her critics are unhappy with Ardern for not fulfilling some of her election promises, including having policies that have made a meaningful impact on inequality and measures to reduce child poverty.
There is also the risk that National may be able to tie Labour to the Greens' more radical policies in the minds of the electorate, a tactic that was unsuccessful this time around but perhaps due to the Opposition's dysfunction as much as the attack line itself.
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"I do just want to wait until we see those final results come through and take a bit of time to take stock", she said last night.
"I think the whole world has been looking at Jacinda Ardern and saying, "I wish we had a bit more of that", she said.
Bloomfield said New Zealanders should not become complacent, as Covid-19 continued to devastate the United States and many parts of Europe.
The National Party's leader, Judith Collins, is a former lawyer.
What is the significance of these election results?
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