After being selected as his party’s sole candidate to succeed Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins made a promise to “get things done” and win the impending general election in October.
In a meeting of fellow lawmakers, the 44-year-old politician with red hair emerged as the only candidate to lead the opposition Labour Party. He will now face what is viewed as a formal confirmation by his colleagues on Sunday.
Following Ardern’s abrupt departure on Thursday, he will become the country’s 41st prime minister in his capacity as party leader. Given that her replacement was chosen in less than 48 hours, Ardern stated that she would step down by February 7 but might do so sooner.
“I like to think I am pretty decisive and I can get things done,” said Hipkins, who became a household name for leading the nation’s Covid-19 crackdown for nearly two years.
With his party lagging in the opinion polls under criticism over rising prices, poverty and crime rates, reporters gathered outside parliament in Wellington asked if he can win general elections to be held on October 14.
“Yes,” he replied.
Ardern, a global figurehead for progressive politics, stunned New Zealand by announcing her abrupt exit from office, less than three years after securing a second term in a landslide election win.
The 42-year-old, who presided over the nation during its worst-ever terrorist attack, the Covid outbreak, and numerous other natural calamities, claimed she no longer had “enough in the tank.”
Although Ardern said that her resignation was “laced with sadness,” she claimed that after making the announcement, she “slept well for the first time in a long time.”
Political experts have rushed up to denounce the harassment Ardern received on social media before she resigned.