Jacinda Ardern to Step Down as New Zealand PM
19 January 2023 18:08 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Wellington - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced she would step down from leading the country no later than early February and not seek re-election.
Ardern, holding back tears, said that it had been a tough five and a half years as prime minister and that she was only human and needed to step aside.
"This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term - because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that," Ardern, 42, told a news conference on January 19.
"I know there will be much discussion in the aftermath of this decision as to what the so-called 'real' reason was... The only interesting angle you will find is that after going on six years of some big challenges, that I am human," she continued. "Politicians are human. We give all that we can, for as long as we can, and then it's time. And for me, it’s time."
A ruling New Zealand Labour Party vote for a new leader will take place on Sunday; the party leader will be prime minister until the next general election. Ardern's term as leader will conclude no later than Feb. 7 and a general election will be held on Oct. 14.
Ardern said she believed Labour would win the upcoming election.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, who also serves as finance minister, said in a statement he would not seek to stand as the next Labour leader.
Ardern's successor as party leader and prime minister faces a stern test in a general election, with support for Labour falling and the country expected to go into a recession next quarter.
Ardern said she was not stepping down because the job was hard, but because she believed others could do a better job.
She made a point of telling her daughter Neve that she was looking forward to being there when she started school this year and told her longtime partner Clarke Gayford that it was time they married.
Ardern burst onto the global scene in 2017 when she became the world's youngest female head of government at age 37.
Riding a wave of "Jacinda-mania," she campaigned passionately for women's rights, and an end to child poverty and economic inequality in the country.
Eight months after becoming premier she became the second elected leader to give birth while in office, after Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto. Many saw Ardern as part of wave of progressive female leaders, including Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Her empathetic leadership style was cemented by her response to the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019 that killed 51 people injured 40.
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