New Zealand: Prime Minister Ardern resisgns

In a surprise move, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she will step down as of February 7. She no longer has "enough in the tank" and it's time for her to go, the 42-year-old explained on Thursday. Ardern, who has frequently made international headlines since taking office, plans to remain a member of parliament until new elections take place on 14 October. Europe's press takes stock.

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Denník N (SK) /

A refreshingly different politician

Ardern stands in stark contrast to politicians who will do anything to stay in power, notes Denník N:

“Think of Donald Trump and the false reports about a stolen election and the subsequent attack on the Capitol by his supporters. And only recently something similar happened in Brazil, where Jair Bolsonaro could not handle losing the presidency. To stay in office, Viktor Orbán is taking slices off the country's democracy as if it were a Hungarian salami. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu struck a deal with the devil, the worst extremists, to get back into office. And there is no need to go into details about Vladimir Putin. ... It's refreshing to see someone who behaves quite differently.”

Kurier (AT) /

She changed the image of women in politics

Kurier praises Ardern for remaining human:

“Turning weakness into a strength is probably what she was best at. With this strategy she permanently changed the image of female politicians in the 21st century: before she came along, women in politics were supposed to be cool-headed, unemotional and unassailable - look at Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel. Ardern turned this upside down and made it cool: she was not just the mother of a nation, but also a real woman and a mother. ... 'I am human ', she said with tears in her eyes. With that, at the age of 42, she has already done more to boost the image of politics than any of the male politicians who just cling to their posts.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

A brave step

Not everyone is capable of being so open about failing, says De Volkskrant:

“So Ardern is stepping down even though she has hardly made any impact on socio-economic issues in her own country and she leaves the Labour Party in tatters. But apparently she had no choice. Admitting this is brave and refreshing in a world where politicians usually cling to their positions for too long and have long since lost touch with the people.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Not progressive but pragmatic

Ardern was never the radical progressive she was often thought to be, writes Jennifer Wilton, editor-in-chief of Die Welt:

“All that never went beyond a few pithy anti-capitalism quotes she made at the beginning of her first term in government. For the most part, she continued to pursue the liberal policies of the previous government, even in her second term, when, freed of the coalition, she had free rein to govern as she pleased. She rejected a tax on the rich and her most radical decision was to raise the minimum wage to a level which already applies in many countries. In terms of content, she was often pragmatic.”