Jacinda Ardern resigns as New Zealand prime minister

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a surprise announcement that she will be standing down from her post at the start of February and won’t lead her party into October’s general election. At an emotional news conference, she gave her reasons for leaving, saying she just didn’t have enough left in the tank to carry on.

Ardern was the youngest head of government in the world when she was elected Prime Minister in 2017, at the age of 37. She quickly became a global icon for progressive politics, and gave birth to her daughter while in power, becoming the second woman in modern history to do so after Pakistan’s late leader Benazir Bhutto.

Ardern’s Premiership has been tested time and time again, particularly by the Christchurch terror attacks in 2019, the worst in New Zealand’s modern history. 51 people were killed and dozens of others were wounded when a gunman shot worshipers during Friday prayers. Ardern’s response was praised around the world, as she wore a headscarf and hugged victims and their families, vowing to never mention the attacker’s name.

While the last five and a half years have been the most fulfilling of her life, Ardern said the challenges of the job have taken a toll on her energy. She has decided to step down from her position, and will not be seeking re-election.

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