Nine years of Labour rule in New Zealand have been brought to an end by the main opposition National Party’s victory in the country’s general election. The centre-right party, led by former foreign exchange dealer John Key, has won 45 percent of the vote.
Prime Minister Helen Clark had been seeking a fourth consecutive three-year term, but her centre-left party only secured 34 percent of the vote.
Observers say Clark, New Zealand’s first elected female leader, remains widely respected, despite her party’s slump in the polls.
But coming off the back of the US elections, her appeal to New Zealanders to trust her experience has not been as popular as the National party’s message of change.
The National party will now most likely form the next government with the help of the right-wing ACT and United Futures parties.