Former New Zealand Covid-19 official Chris Hipkins, 44, has been nominated by Labor Party MPs to replace Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister, the Labor Party announced on Friday (January 20th). political party in a press release.
Mr. Hipkins must still be formally nominated by his party leadership on Sunday before he can become the 41e head of government of his country, after the surprise resignation of Jacinda Ardern Thursday. The new prime minister will be responsible for leading his party in the general elections in October, for which he is not the favourite, according to the polls.
The action of Mr. Hipkins was hailed at the head of the ministry responsible for developing the response to the epidemic, in a country which closed its borders in order to limit the risk of infection, and only reopened them last August. Considered experienced, with more than fourteen years in Parliament, he admitted last year that people were fed up with strict health restrictions, describing border closures as “difficult”. Minister of the Interior since June, he had previously held the portfolios of education and public services.
Mme Ardern, 42, resigned on Thursday, saying he had no “not enough energy” to continue to govern after five and a half years in power. During her tenure, she faced the Covid-19 epidemic, a deadly volcanic eruption and the worst attack ever in the country, the murder of fifty-one Muslim worshipers in two Christchurch mosques by a white supremacist in 2019.