‘Indian politics needs more like her’: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s retirement

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and party’s national spokesperson Jairam Ramesh on Thursday lauded New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has announced not to seek re-election and step down as the country’s leader. Drawing a parallel from the words of renowned cricketer-commentator Vijay Merchant, Ramesh interpreted Ardern’s stepping down as a move that “follows Merchant’s maxim”.

The Congress leader took to Twitter and said, “Indian politics needs more people like him”.

Her tweet came shortly after Ardern told reporters in Napier that February 7 would be her last day in office. She will hold her seat as MLA till the general election, which she said will be held on 14 October.

“It’s time for me,” she told a meeting of members of her Labor Party. “I don’t have enough in the tank for another four years.” Ardern, who became prime minister in a coalition government in 2017 then led her centre-left Labor Party to a sweeping election victory three years later, has seen her party and personal popularity decline in recent polls.

In his first public appearance since parliament went into summer recess a month ago, he told Labour’s annual caucus retreat that he hoped to find energy to continue as leader during the break, “but I’m going to do that.” I am not able”. She said, “I am not going because I believe we cannot win the next election, but because I believe we can go and win.”

Ardern said her resignation would take effect before 7 February, adding that the Labor caucus would vote on a new leader on 22 January.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said he would not be putting his name forward. Ardern said there was no mystery behind her resignation. “I’m human. We give as much as we can and then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.

“I’m leaving because with such a privileged job comes a great responsibility. It’s a responsibility to know when you’re the right person to lead – and also when you’re not.”

Ardern’s sympathy for the country’s worst mass-shooting and health-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic have made her an international icon, but she has faced mounting criticism at home.