New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that she will resign next month and will not contest this year’s general elections.
Fighting back tears, Ardern told reporters in the city of Napier on Thursday that February 7 will be her last day in office.
“I am not leaving because it was hard. Had that been the case I probably would have departed two months into the job,” she said.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
New Zealand’s next general election will be held on October 14, she added.
Ardern’s announcement came as her Labour Party looked set to face a tough election campaign this year.
While Labour won re-election two years ago in a landslide of historic proportions, recent polls have put it behind its conservative rivals.
Political commentator Ben Thomas said Ardern’s announcement was a huge surprise as polls still ranked her as the country’s preferred prime minister even though support for her party had fallen from the stratospheric heights seen during the 2020 election.
Thomas said that there was not a clear successor.