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New Zealand's Prime Minister resigns

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to resign. It’s time for her, she said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Lucinda Ardern announced her resignation on February 7 at a press conference. “I don’t have enough in the tank anymore,” she said. The past six years of government work have claimed victims. “We all give as long as we can give and then it’s over. And for me it’s time now.”

In two and a half weeks, on February 7, she will give up her position, the 42-year-old said on Thursday with tears. Your resignation will take effect upon the appointment of a successor. A new leader of the Labor Party is to be elected on Sunday. At the same time, Ardern announced the date for the next parliamentary elections: the citizens of the Pacific state will go to the polls on October 14.

The popular Labor politician came into media focus around the world when she became the youngest Prime Minister in the world in 2017 at the age of only 37. In just a few months, she rose from deputy opposition leader to head of government. Her meteoric rise has a name in New Zealand: Jacindamania. When she gave birth to daughter Neve in June 2018, she became the first prime minister in decades to give birth while in office. Ardern has been with Neve’s father, journalist Clarke Gayford, since 2013.

Because of her empathetic nature and her successful crisis management, she quickly made a name for herself internationally. In the October 2020 election, she won a landslide victory for Labor – and was re-elected for another three years.

Worldwide awareness due to strict corona policy

Ardern has had to overcome several serious crises in recent years. In particular, her handling of the attacks in Christchurch, in which a right-wing extremist from Australia shot 51 Muslims in two mosques in March 2019, brought her a lot of recognition abroad. In December 2019, more than 20 people died in a volcanic eruption on White Island, and Corona struck a few months later.

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Ardern’s government responded with one of the strictest curfews in the world, sealing off the country to foreign visitors. The result: New Zealand came through the pandemic relatively unscathed for a long time. For a long time, the citizens of the small country at the other end of the world lived a normality that was thought to be almost forgotten, while massive restrictions applied in most other countries.

“Someone who knows when it’s time to go.”

After a year and a half, Ardern also had to admit that no country in the world can completely eradicate the corona virus in the long term. The “zero Covid strategy” was lifted at the end of 2021.

“With such a privileged role comes responsibility, including the responsibility of knowing when you are the right person to lead and when you are not,” she said. The office asked a lot of her. “You can and should only do the job when you have a full tank, plus a little reserve for the unplanned and unexpected challenges that inevitably come.” She hopes she has given New Zealanders the belief that they can be their own kind of leader: “Someone who knows when it’s time to go.”

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