New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday made a shocking announcement that she would step down no later than early February and not seek re-election.
Ardern, holding back tears, said that it had been a tough five and a half years as prime minister and that she was only human and needed to step aside, Reuters reported.
“I am leaving because with such a privileged role, comes responsibility, the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she said.
Ardern had become a global figure with her initial handling of the coronavirus pandemic after New Zealand managed for months to stop the virus at its borders. But the measures were deemed too strict by many citizens.
“This summer, I had hoped to find a way to prepare for not just another year, but another term – because that is what this year requires. I have not been able to do that,” Ardern said in a news conference.
A ruling New Zealand Labour Party vote for a new leader will take place on Sunday; the party leader will be prime minister until the next general election.
Ardern’s term as the leader will conclude no later than 07 February and a general election will be held on 14 October this year.