New Zealand: Chris Hipkins to succeed Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation to everyone’s surprise on Thursday, saying she was tired of the job after more than five years in office.

Chris Hipkins, 44, has been nominated by Labor MPs to succeed him in the post, the party said in a statement.

Former head of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in New Zealand, Chris Hipkins must still be formally appointed on Sunday by the leadership of his party before he can become the 41st Prime Minister of his country.

“The Labor Party caucus will meet at 1 p.m. on Sunday to endorse the nomination and confirm Chris Hipkins as leader of the party,” said Duncan Webb, a Labor party executive.

The appointment of Hipkins, a seasoned politician with more than 14 years in parliament, has ended speculation that Justice Minister Kiri Allan could have become the first Maori to lead New Zealand.

The new Chief Executive, Minister of the Interior since June, and who had previously held the portfolios of Education and Public Services, will be responsible for leading his party in the general elections in October, why he is not the favorite, according to the polls.

Jacinda Ardern surprised New Zealand by announcing her stepping down from power, less than three years after winning a second term in a landslide election victory.

During her tenure, she dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, a deadly volcanic eruption and the 2019 massacre of 51 Muslim worshipers at a Christchurch mosque by a white supremacist, the worst bombing in the country’s history.

In a frank speech, the 42-year-old Labor member, who will remain an MP until April, detailed the reasons for her withdrawal: “I gave everything to be Prime Minister, but it also cost me a lot”, she said, on the verge of tears, during a press conference.

“I just don’t have enough energy for another four years,” she added.

To conclude: “I hope that in return, I will leave behind the conviction that one can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive”.

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