Global fans of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are asking her to govern their countries after she posted her first selfie since winning a landslide victory in NZ’s general election at the weekend.
Ardern on Monday posted an Instagram snap from Parliament in Wellington expressing her gratitude to be back as the country’s leader.
“Back in the Beehive,” she wrote. “A chance to catch up with our new MPs, thank the team who were working behind the scenes during the last six weeks, and to feel grateful just for being here again.”
The post racked up more than 248,000 likes on Instagram and over 4,500 comments in just 17 hours.
“They should make you chief of UN! Or a global president! Respect,” one person commented.
“Can you please be our PM too? From Australia,” another posted.
“You’re everything I wish we had in America. Additionally you’re now what I see as a true leader and I thank you for the gift of reality,” another Instagram user wrote.
The ruling Labour Party was handed a resounding mandate in the election on Sunday, as voters rewarded Ardern for her decisive response to COVID-19.
Although Ardern has the numbers to govern alone, she is in talks with former ally the Green Party to build a wider consensus, a move that will make New Zealand’s next Parliament the most inclusive ever, with several people of colour, members from the rainbow communities and a high number of women.
Labour won 64 of the 120 parliamentary seats, and more than half of those are female candidates. It also has 16 Maori MPs, the first leader of African origin, Ibrahim Omar, and Vanushi Walters of Sri Lankan origin.
“This is the most diverse Parliament we have ever had in terms of gender, and minority ethnic and Indigenous representation,” said Professor Paul Spoonley from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University.
It’s also expected to be the most rainbow representative parliament system in the world, with about 10% of the members in the 120-seat house being openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
This includes prominent leaders like Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who is openly gay.
The Greens surprisingly won as many as 10 seats in parliament and a majority of them are women, Indigenous leaders or LGBTQ+.
The majority of the new MPs elected into parliament are also much younger and many of them are millennials, Spoonley said.
“What we have seen is a departure of many of the older, male, white MPs including some who have been in parliament for over 30 years,” he said.
Ardern herself arrived onto the global scene in 2017 when she became the world’s youngest female head of government at the age of 37.
The 40-year-old leader is feted globally as a progressive leader, who is a champion for woman’s rights, equality and inclusivity.
With additional reporting from Praveen Menon of Reuters.
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