New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, an inspiration for many, resigns in a shocking move


New Zealand
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives holding her child Neve during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, on September 25, 2018. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Jacinda Ardern, whose empathic response to the nation's bloodiest mass shooting and health-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic made her an international celebrity despite rising domestic criticism, announced her resignation on Thursday.

Ardern told reporters in Napier that February 7 would be her last day as prime minister while fighting back the tears.

She said, "I am entering my sixth year in office, and for each of those years, I have given my all."

She also declared that general elections in New Zealand will be conducted on October 14, 2023, and that she would remain an MP until then.

The five-million-person nation was stunned by her declaration. Although there was some speculation in political circles that Ardern might resign before the next election, she has always maintained that she would run again.

Before the election, it was unknown who would succeed the incumbent prime minister. Vice-Prime Minister Grant Robertson declared that he would not compete for the Labour Party's leadership, so he opened up the race.

In 2017, at the comparatively young age of 37, Ardern became the prime minister of New Zealand, inspiring women worldwide. She became the second world leader to give birth while in office the following year. In 2018, when she took her young daughter to the UN General Assembly in New York, it brought smiles.

In March 2019, Ardern faced one of the worst days in New Zealand's history when a white supremacist shooter opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people. In the aftermath, she was universally commended for welcoming the survivors and New Zealand's Muslim population.

She was praised internationally for New Zealand's first response to the coronavirus epidemic, during which the virus was halted at its borders for months. As more contagious variations spread and vaccines were widely available, she was compelled to drop the zero-tolerance policy.

Those who opposed coronavirus mandates and regulations grew increasingly hostile toward Ardern. Last year, a protest that began on the grounds of Parliament lasted more than three weeks and culminated with protestors throwing rocks at police and lighting tents and beds on fire when they were forced to leave.

The intense emotions surrounding the coronavirus discussion resulted in an unprecedented animosity hurled towards Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Due to security concerns, Ardern was forced to cancel her annual BBQ this year.

Ardern has challenging reelection prospects. Her liberal Labour Party was reelected in a historic landslide two years ago, but recent surveys have placed her party below its conservative opponents.

The role, according to Ardern, necessitates having a cushion for the unforeseen.

"However, I am not going because it was difficult. "Had that been the case, I would have probably quit two months into the job," she claimed. "I am going because with such a privileged position comes a great deal of responsibility. The obligation to recognize when you are qualified to lead and when you are not."

She stated that her tenure in office had been both rewarding and challenging.

"I understand what is required for this profession, and I can no longer do it justice. That straightforward," she stated.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, whose Labor Party is linked with New Zealand's ruling party, stated that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "has shown the world how to lead with intelligence and strength."

Albanese tweeted, "She has demonstrated empathy and insight are potent leadership qualities."

He continued, "Jacinda has been a fierce advocate for New Zealand, an inspiration to many, and a great friend to me."

China's growing assertiveness in the Pacific prompted Ardern to adopt a more conciliatory stance than Australia, which had ended up in conflict with China. Last month, in an interview with The Associated Press, she stated that forging connections with minor Pacific states should not become a competition with China.

Last month, Prime Minister Ardern stated that a comprehensive Royal Commission of Inquiry would investigate whether the government made the correct decisions in fighting COVID-19 and how it could better prepare for future pandemics. A report is required the following year.

On Sunday, the Labour Party caucus will vote for a new leader. If no candidate receives at least two-thirds of the vote, the entire party members will decide the leadership election. Ardern has advised the party to select her successor by February 7, when she leaves office.

Ardern stated she has no immediate plans after leaving the government other than family obligations with her daughter Neve and her fiancé Clarke Gayford, whose earlier wedding preparations were cancelled due to the virus outbreak.

"Mum looks forward to being there when you begin school this year, Neve," Ardern added. And to Clarke, let's finally tie the knot.

Publish : 2023-01-19 13:55:00

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