New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially replaced

The resigning Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern was officially replaced on Wednesday, with the inauguration of her successor Chris Hipkins, during a ceremony in Wellington.

“It is the greatest privilege and the greatest responsibility of my life,” said Mr. Hipkins, 44, saying he was “motivated” and “enthusiastic” about the “challenges ahead”.

Chris Hipkins has been hailed for his almost two-year term as minister in charge of the fight against Covid-19, in a country which closed its borders to ward off the pandemic and only reopened them in August 2022 .

Jacinda Ardern stunned New Zealand when she announced her abrupt removal from power, less than three years after winning a second term in a landslide election victory.

Ms Ardern, 42, said last week that she did not have “enough energy” to carry on with her duties, after five years marked by a deadly volcanic eruption, the country’s worst ever attack and the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19.

“I leave with a feeling of gratitude after carrying out this wonderful role for so many years,” she told reporters in Ratana (north) on Tuesday during her last public visit as Prime Minister. .

The popularity of his Labor government has soured in recent months due to a looming recession and a resurgence of the Conservative opposition.

Resigning New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets her colleagues and friends on January 25, 2023 in Wellington (AFP – Marty MELVILLE)

Her resignation sparked a nationwide debate about the denigration of women leaders, particularly on social media.

Chris Hipkins has described as “absolutely heinous” the attacks she suffered when she was head of state.

Jacinda Ardern, however, said on Tuesday that she would “hate” that her sudden departure was seen as a criticism of her country.

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