New Zealand coalition efforts intensify after final results give no clear winner
That means both leading parties are now courting the New Zealand First Party, which took nine seats, and the Green Party, which won eight, in earnest in hopes of forming a coalition government.
A coalition of National and New Zealand First would hold 65 seats, while if Labour can woo both New Zealand First and the Greens, that grouping could claim 63 seats.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said his party would hold post-election discussions with both National and Labour on Sunday, CNN affiliate Radio NZ reported. Peters had previously said he would not begin serious coalition talks until the full results were released, the station said.
Coalitions are nothing new for National, which has run a minority government since 2008.
At the start of the year, English — who replaced former National leader John Key in December — was in a strong position and looked set to continue Key’s electoral success by winning a fourth term in office for his party.
But a surprise decision by then-Labour leader Andrew Little to stand aside at the start of the campaign made room for Ardern, 37, a three-term member of Parliament. After she took control of Labour, the party surged in the polls, leading the press to coin the term “Jacindamania.”
The election was largely focused on the economy, with National attempting to highlight its positive record, while house prices were a key topic of attack for Labour.
Voter engagement was strong, with 79.8% of enrolled voters, or more than 2.5 million people, voting in the election. This was the highest turnout since 2005, according to Radio NZ.
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