New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who became a global icon of the left and exemplified a new style of leadership, said Thursday that she would leave office.
Just 37 when she became leader, Ardern was praised around the world for her handling of the nation’s worst-ever mass shooting and the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. But she faced mounting political pressures at home and a level of vitriol from some that hadn’t been experienced by previous New Zealand leaders.
Still, her announcement came as a shock throughout the nation of 5 million people.
Fighting back tears, Ardern told reporters in Napier that Feb. 7 would be her last day as prime minister after five and a half years in office.
“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,” she said.