He promised “relentless positivity” as New Zealand’s prime minister. But after five and a half years in office, he announced his resignation on Thursday.
Elected prime minister in October 2017, the 42-year-old Labor member has not been spared during his first term: the worst terrorist attack New Zealand has ever seen, a deadly volcanic eruption and, as elsewhere, the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These five and a half years have been the most fulfilling of my life. But there are challenges to overcome,” Ms Ardern said on Thursday.
“I know what this job demands, and I know I don’t have enough energy to justify it. It’s that simple,” he announced his resignation.
Elected to lead the country at just 37, he became New Zealand’s youngest prime minister since 1856 and an icon of liberalism.
During his campaign, carried by an impressive wave of sympathy dubbed “Jacintamania” by the media, the leader was compared to two younger leaders, Frenchman Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Justin Trudeau.
On August 1, 2017, Jacinda Ardern, under the leadership of New Zealand’s opposition, made an incredible surge in the polls, embodying the promise of a generational “change” for Labor.
Shame on the person who said he never imagined that he would contest for the post of Prime Minister one day.
After winning a second term thanks to Labor’s landslide victory in the 2020 assembly elections, Ms. Ardern has experienced a decline in popularity in recent years for a number of reasons: the worsening economic situation, declining trust in her government, and resurgent conservative opposition.
And the stress she’s been through in recent years has gotten to her at times. In December, after a heated exchange with Opposition Leader David Seymour, his mutterings were picked up by his microphone, always: “What an arrogant murderer! »
She managed to make up for it with a good dose of self-mockery by auctioning off an embarrassing parliamentary report to raise funds to fight cancer.
Born in Hamilton, 130km south of Auckland, in 1980, Jacinda Ardern says the poverty she saw in the North Island suburbs helped shape her left-wing beliefs.
The daughter of a policeman, she was raised in the Mormon faith, which she renounced in the 2000s because of the church’s stance on homosexuality.
He got an early interest in politics through an aunt, and joined Labor youth organisations. After graduation, he worked for Prime Minister Helen Clark and later for Tony Blair in London.
“Everybody knows I accepted a bad political position without warning,” he announced as he became the youngest leader in Labour’s century-long history.
18 months after becoming prime minister, his country suffered a terrorist attack. A white supremacist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people and injuring 40 others.
Ardern’s reaction has been universally praised for her empathy, especially when it comes to comforting Muslim families wearing headscarves.
He has been praised for his decisive policy actions, including on gun restrictions, and for his efforts to force social media companies to deal with online hate speech.
Its health policy against the coronavirus, which prompted the closure of the archipelago’s borders, has been widely praised by New Zealanders.
During the coronavirus crisis, Ms Ardern has repeatedly urged New Zealanders to ‘show kindness’, calling for a unified approach from what she calls the ‘group of five million’.