Jacinda Ardern to Become New Zealand Prime Minister
Albanian Daily News
Published October 19, 2017
New Zealand is to get its youngest-ever female Prime Minister after a minority party threw its support behind Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, who took over the left-wing party only three months ago.
Winston Peters, the leader of the anti-immigration NZ First party, announced in a live TV broadcast that he would support Arden in a coalition government, after September's election returned a hung parliament.
Arden, 37, will become New Zealand's third female leader. Speaking after the announcement she said it was an "absolute honor and a privilege ... to form a government for all New Zealanders."
Ardern said Labour had found "true allies in parliament" -- NZ First and the Greens -- with whom a coalition could be formed to deliver the party's vision for the country.
The announcement ended almost a month of uncertainty, and weeks of negotiations, conducted by Peters with Ardern and the incumbent Prime Minister Bill English's National party over who could form the next government.
His decision was greeted with shock and elation in Labour Party headquarters, CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand reported. Peters did not tell Ardern or English who he would back before announcing it live on television.
"I joined with New Zealand as we collectively learned the news together," Ardern said, adding she "enjoyed the theater" of Peters' announcement.
Ardern will become New Zealand's third female prime minister, and the second-youngest, after Edward Stafford, who become Premier in 1856. He was also 37, but born later in the year. Ardern will be the youngest woman to lead the country.
A member of the Labour Party since she was 17 years old, Ardern became leader in August after her predecessor Andrew Little stepped aside at the start of the election campaign, when the party was struggling in the polls.
At the start of the year, English -- who replaced former National leader John Key in December -- was in a strong position and looked certain to continue Key's electoral success.