isn New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to decide by Monday whether a general election will be held on September 19, with most analysts expecting her to resist opposition calls for a delay due to an upsurge in infections.
New Zealand, which has five million people, has weathered much better than most countries during the pandemic, but a wave of new infections forced Ardern earlier this week to lockdown Auckland, the largest city. Seven new cases were reported today.
Having kept New Zealand free from infection for 102 straight days before the outbreak, Ardern has been hailed for her decisive response to the pandemic, and opinion polls have shown her Labor Party to be in a winning position.
The National Opposition Party has said it wants the elections to be delayed, hoping Ardern will lose some of its luster once the hardships caused by the lockdown start to bite.
“She’s a wise politician,” Grant Duncan, a political professor at Massey University, told Reuters. “It pays for the government to have an election as soon as possible when the opposition wants it delayed. “
Forced to cancel campaign events due to restrictions on movement and crowds over health scares, the opposition accused Ardern of using the pandemic to shore up support as she appears on TV almost every day to reassure New Zealanders, while their own leaders struggle to draw. public.
Parliament is due to dissolve on Monday, and Ardern told reporters yesterday that she would have decided by then, while giving assurances that the election commission had already scheduled the vote – which is due to take place before November 21 – takes place safely.