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New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern Announces Resignation

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime Newminister, said earlier today that she would not seek re-election and would step down on Feb. 7. Labour Party lawmakers will elect a new leader of the party — and the country — in three days’ time. In a tearful announcement, Ardern said she did not feel emotionally equipped to complete another term. “I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also one of the more challenging,” she said. “You cannot and should not do it unless you have a full tank plus a bit in reserve for those unexpected challenges.” Ardern became prime minister in 2017 and won re-election in 2020, largely on the strength of New Zealand’s approach to Covid. Her compassionate response to a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019 solidified her image as a global liberal icon. But her party has since fallen sharply in the polls amid economic troubles and some highly publicized instances of violent crime. Analysis: Ben Thomas, a political commentator and former press secretary for the National Party, said her resignation could spell disaster for the Labour Party. “She’s Labour’s No. 1 political asset,” he said. “It would very much be a personal decision to step down, as opposed to a considered strategy about what would be best for Labour in the election.”

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