“Covid-19 election” – landslide victory for Jacinda Ardern

Dhe government’s tough stance in the Corona crisis has now also paid off politically: The Labor Party of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern achieved a historic victory in the parliamentary elections on Saturday. For the first time since proportional representation based on the German model was introduced in New Zealand in the 1990s, a party has achieved an absolute majority. Ardern’s social democratic party can even govern alone without having to enter into a coalition with the Greens, as many expected. With 49.1 percent of the vote, she has 64 of the 120 seats in parliament. The opposition National Party under the challenger Judith Collins only got 26.8 percent and 35 seats. Ten seats go to the Greens (7.6 percent) and the right-wing conservative ACT (8.0 percent).

On the evening of the election in Auckland, Ardern also thanked the voters who do not belong to the social democratic core electorate. She promised to be a head of government for all New Zealanders. But she also pointed out that she has now achieved the best result for her party in at least five decades. With a view to the corona pandemic, she said New Zealand would emerge stronger from it. “There is a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years. After the Covid crisis, we will build up New Zealand better than it was before, ”said the 40-year-old head of government. And: “I say thank you. This wasn’t a normal choice. … She was full of uncertainty and worry. Let’s move forward together. ”Opposition leader Judith Collins had previously recognized Labor’s victory in the election.

The government has primarily rewarded the 3.7 million eligible voters for its successful crisis management. In the course of the pandemic, she succeeded for the second time in reducing the number of local infections to zero. With fewer than 2,000 cases and 25 deaths, New Zealand is among the model students in the fight against the pandemic. While other countries in Europe are now imposing restrictions again, life in New Zealand has largely returned to normal. The New Zealanders are again without masks in cafes and shops. Another rugby match recently took place in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Nevertheless, the election campaign was dominated by the pandemic. Commentators even spoke of a “Covid-19 election”. The election itself had to be postponed by a month due to a temporary Covid outbreak in the economic metropolis of Auckland.

The five million New Zealanders largely agree that they owe their success in the fight against the pandemic to the rigorous actions of their Prime Minister. Under the motto “Intervene hard and early”, Ardern had closed the borders at a time when the number of infections was still very low and imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. This had serious consequences, especially for the economy. But the New Zealanders have more than 90 percent agreed to the tough measures in surveys. The head of government had also tried to explain her measures to the people directly.