Wellington (Caasimada Online) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shocked the country on Thursday by announcing her resignation as the leader of the ruling New Zealand Labour Party and her decision not to seek re-election.
The 42 years old Prime Minister said that she had “no more in the tank” to continue leading the country and that she needed to step aside.
Ardern, who has served as the prime minister for five and a half years, made the announcement at a news conference while holding back tears.
“This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year but another term – because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that,” Ardern said.
“I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so-called ‘real’ reason was… The only interesting angle you will find is that after six years of some big challenges, I am human,” she continued.
“Politicians are human. We give all we can for as long as possible, and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Ardern’s resignation will take effect by February 7th, and a general election has been scheduled for October 14th.
A vote for a new leader of the Labour Party will take place on Sunday, and the new leader will serve as prime minister until the next general election.
Grant Robertson, the current Deputy Prime Minister and finance minister of New Zealand, announced that he would not be putting his name forward as a candidate for the next leader of the Labour Party.
The announcement of Prime Minister Ardern’s resignation came as a shock, as recent polls showed her as the preferred leader among the country’s citizens, despite declining support for her party from the level it reached during the 2020 election.
Ardern has gained widespread popularity and recognition as a leader in New Zealand since taking office in 2017. She made history as the world’s youngest female head of government at age 37.
Her strong advocacy marked Ardern’s political campaign for women’s rights and efforts to combat child poverty and economic inequality in New Zealand.
She made history by becoming the second elected leader to give birth while in office, following Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto. She is part of a new generation of progressive female leaders, such as Finland’s Sanna Marin.
Furthermore, her empathetic approach to leadership was evident during her response to the tragic mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019, where she offered condolences to the victims’ families and showed strong leadership in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Ardern quickly and decisively labeled the attacks as “terrorism” and demonstrated her solidarity with the Muslim community by wearing a hijab when she met with them the day after the attack.
She emphasized the country’s unity in grief. She promised to take swift action, which she followed through on by delivering significant gun law reform within a month.
Ardern’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely recognized as successful. New Zealand has implemented some of the most stringent measures globally but also had one of the lowest death tolls from the virus.
Source: Caasimada Online and News Agencies