New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, has won an emphatic victory in the country’s general elections, securing a third term in office.
“This is a great night. This is a victory for those who kept the faith,” the leader of the center-right National Party told a cheering crowd in Auckland on Saturday.
“This is a victory for those who refused to be distracted and who knew that a vote for National [Party] was a vote for a brighter future for all New Zealanders,” he added.
With most ballots counted, the 53-year-old’s party won 61 of 121 seats.
Meanwhile, opposition leader David Cunliffe accepted defeat, as he told the Labor Party’s backers that they “will not be able to form a government.”
“It is rare for any government to be defeated while surfing an economic rebound with around a 4 percent growth rate, even though the longer-term problems remain to be addressed,” he said.
Cunliffe added that he would not be resigning despite the poor result.
Under New Zealand’s proportional voting system, the ruling party typically requires to renew its coalition deal with several minor parties to gain a majority in the parliament. However, if the results hold, it would mean the National Party could govern outright.
Key, a former banker, has campaigned on his administration’s record of economic management and has pledged tax cuts. He, however, faces accusations of allowing mass spying on the population.
The allegations were sparked by the publication of a book by investigative journalist Nicky Hagar titled “Dirty Politics” in August. Citing hacked emails, the book showed that government officials in New Zealand conspired to smear their opponents.
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