New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's ruling Labour Party looked set to win the country's general election on Saturday.
Driving the news: NZ Electoral Commission results show that with 58.1% of votes counted, Labour had 58.7% of the votes, or 64 seats, compared to 26.7% for the opposition National Party led by Judith Collins.
Why it matters: No party has won an outright majority in New Zealand since the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation voting system was introduced in 1996. A party needs to win 61 of 120 parliamentary seats to form the government.
- Ardern billed this race as the "COVID election," and has been widely praised for her leadership in handling the pandemic.
- The country has not reported any active coronavirus cases since Oct. 7, after officials managed to stamp out a second outbreak in Auckland. The most recent new community case was confirmed on Sept. 25.
The big picture: Under MMP, voters cast two ballots in the election— one to decide their local representative and another for a political party.
- New Zealanders also voted on the End of Life Choice assisted dying bill and whether to legalize cannabis, but the results of these referendums are due in two weeks' time.
For the record: The election was delayed by four weeks to Oct. 17 because of the second outbreak.
Flashback: New Zealand imposed one of the world's toughest lockdowns when the pandemic reached the country in March.
- The island nation went 102 days with no detected cases in the community before COVID-19 re-emerged in Auckland in August.
- The country's most populous city went into a lockdown that was less severe than the first while lesser restrictions returned to the rest of the country. There are now no restrictions on the population of 5 million people.
Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.