She held the helm throughout the pandemic, but also during Christchurch bombings. The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, announced Thursday that she would step down next month after more than five years in office. “For me, it’s time,” she told a meeting of her Labor Party. “I just don’t have enough energy for another four years,” she added.
She indicated her resignation would take effect no later than February 7, and the Labor caucus would vote to appoint a new leader in three days.
Fall in the polls
Jacinda Ardern, 42, became the country’s youngest prime minister, in a coalition government in 2017, before leading the centre-left Labor Party to an outright majority in the next election three years later. She has seen her party and her personal popularity plummet in recent polls, with new elections due this year.
In her first public appearance since Parliament began its summer recess a month ago, Ardern explained that she had hoped to use the break to find the energy to continue governing. “But I wasn’t able to do that,” she admitted.
Legislative on October 14
She announced that the next elections will be held on October 14, and that until then she will continue to exercise her mandate as a deputy. “I’m not leaving because I believe we can’t win the next election, but because I believe we can and we will,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson immediately announced that he would not be a candidate for his succession. The outgoing Prime Minister assured that there was no secret reason behind her resignation. “I am human. We give as much as we can for as long as we can, and then it’s time. And for me, that moment has arrived,” Ardern said. “I’m leaving because such a privileged position comes with great responsibility. The responsibility of knowing when you are the right person to lead, and also when you are not”.