New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who drew widespread praise for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has easily won a second term.
Results on Saturday with most votes having been counted showed the election was a landslide, with the prime minister's liberal Labour Party scoring 49 percent of the vote and being set to win an outright majority of seats in Parliament, while the conservative National Party won 27 percent of the vote, The Associated Press reports. Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins says she called Ardern to concede defeat, Axios reports.
Ardern was praised for New Zealand's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and after she implemented strick lockdown measures in March, officials in June announced that the country officially had zero known cases of COVID-19. After new measures were implemented in Auckland in response to a new outbreak, there is now no community spread of the coronavirus in New Zealand, where wearing masks and social distancing is also no longer required, according to the AP.
"We will govern as we campaigned: positively with optimism about our future," Ardern said on Friday. "Now more than ever is the time to keep going, to keep working, to grab hold of the opportunities that lay in front of us. Let's keep moving."