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Who is Jacinda Ardern? The New 'Trudeau-Like' Leader of New Zealand

24 October 2017 6:59 PM
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Jacinda Ardern is overturning political norms as the world's youngest female leader— and securing a budding friendship with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The newly elected New Zealand prime minister has already earned some face time with Trudeau after securing the country's top job Monday, while President Donald Trump phoned in his congratulations. The 37-year-old leader spoke with Trump for five minutes on the importance of the bilateral partnership and cooperation between the United States and New Zealand.

"The president was genuinely interested in our election and spoke about the coverage it had received in Washington D.C.," Ardern said in a statement. "The president also asked that I pass on his warm regards to the people of New Zealand."

Photos of Ardern, the country's youngest leader in 150 years, Skyping with Trudeau lit up social media Tuesday. The Canadian leader said he is "eager to meet in person soon to keep building ties and trade between our countries."

On Twitter, people noted the difference between Trump's and Trudeau's messages, joking that Trump's phone call and statement were "so last generation" compared with the two young leaders Skyping.

Ardern ended the eight-year rule of outgoing leader Bill English after previously serving as the head of the International Union of Socialist Youth.

She struck a deal to form a coalition government in New Zealand, essentially creating an alliance between multiple parties to hold power. There were early concerns that Ardern's center-left Labour Party would be pulled toward a nationalistic, anti-immigration policy during an alliance with New Zealand First, a populist party. Ardern will need to compromise with her populist coalition partner, Winston Peters, to accomplish her policy goals.

The election's populist focus on migrant reduction sparked global concern that the game-changing candidate would favor nationalism like Peters and Trump. The newly approved immigration policy for the coalition is estimated to cut refugees by 20,000 to 30,000 each year.

Ardern weighed in on Trump in June after The Wall Street Journal profiled her possible immigration stance, noting on social media that she was "New Zealand's Justin Trudeau—except she's more like Trump on immigration."

But Ardern struck back at the comparison, saying it is "false and frankly offensive" to be compared to Trump as a leader. She did not make the same assessment of Trudeau.

Source: newsweek.com

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