PM Jacinda Ardern reelected for the second term in the 2020 New Zealand General Elections

PM Jacinda Ardern reelected for the second term in the 2020 New Zealand General Elections
Picture Courtesy: axios.com

Gangtok, October 17: The results of the 2020 New Zealand General elections for the membership of the 53rd New Zealand Parliament, which was held on October 17, has been declared, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been elected for the second time with a landslide election victory. The elections in New Zealand are always conducted on a Saturday, as to minimise the effect of work or religious commitments that could inhibit people from voting. 

The previous parliament which had been elected on September 27, 2017, and had been dissolved on September 6, 2020, as New Zealand holds their General elections usually every three years. Local government politicians, including mayors, councillors and District Health Boards are voted in during the local elections, which is also held every three years, and usually practice both single transferable vote (STV) and first past the post (FPP) systems in 2007.

For the 2020 New Zealand General elections, voters had elected 120 members to the House of Representatives under New Zealand's mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, a proportional representation system in which 72 members are elected from single-member electorates and 48 members are elected from closed party lists. As of October 16, 2020, 3.49 million people (92.5%) out of an estimated eligible population of 3.77 million were registered to vote in the election. The advance voting had opened on 3 October 2020, with 1.98 million votes cast before election day.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of the centre-left Labour Party has been re-elected, even with only 87% of the votes being finished counting, out of which 48.9% has been secured by the  Labour Party.  While the votes are still being counted, the final results will be released only after three weeks after the special votes -- including those which were cast by New Zealanders living overseas, voters in hospital or prison, and those voters enrolled on the unpublished roll are counted. The official results, including all recounted ordinary votes and special votes, as well as the official results of the two referendums, are expected to be released by the Electoral Commission on November 6, 2020.

The reason for Ardern’s landslide win at the 2020 New Zealand General elections, among others, could be due to her successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand reported less than 2,000 total cases and 25 deaths since the onset of the pandemic. For the 2020 New Zealand General elections, Ardern’s and the Labour Party’s main opponent was the centre-right National Party which was led by Judith Collins, with the sole opposition party in the Parliament being ACT New Zealand, which was represented by a single MP, David Seymour.

Ardern after the preliminary results on Saturday has said, “Tonight, New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years, and I can promise you: we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander." Ardern’s opponent Judith Collins, has said that she called Ardern to congratulate Ardern on an "outstanding result" for the Labour Party.