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New Zealand Elected the Gayest Parliament in History

New Zealand just elected the gayest parliament ever.

Jacinda Ardern’s landslide Labour Party victory is a big win for LGBTQ+ representation.

Following a landslide victory for Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party in elections concluded Saturday, the New Zealand parliament is set to become the gayest ever. Labour easily won 64 out of 120 seats in the national election, enabling Ardern to form the first single-party government since 1996. An expected 12 of the country's 120 ministers of parliament (MP) will be LGBTQ+, meaning the new parliament will have the highest percentage of out queer representation anywhere in the world, beating the United Kingdom's previous high of 7 percent. Those numbers could change once remaining special ballots are received and counted, though.

Lesbian Labour MP Louisa Wall told The Australian before the election that "numbers do matter" and that she was optimistic about her party's chances. "We have a critical mass with high visibility and we're seen as valid. If we do end up being the most LGBTQI representative parliament in the world, that would be simply great."

Wall, who submitted the bill to legalize marriage equality in 2012, was joined in victory by Labour's gay finance minister Grant Robertson, who tweeted he was "excited" to welcome the new MPs. Robertson is expected to become deputy prime minister in the new government. Other queer Labour MPs include Ayesha Verrall and Shanan Halbert.

New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy operating under a constitutional monarchy. They are part of the Commonwealth realm under the figurehead ruler Queen Elizabeth II, who plays little role in domestic New Zealand politics. The people of the South Pacific island nation do not elect their country's prime minister directly. Instead, the leader of the party with the majority or majority coalition of seats in parliament is asked to form a government. Even though Labour won an outright majority of seats in parliament in the election, Ardern is expected to form another coalition government with the Green party. The current government is a coalition with the New Zealand First party and receiving support from the Green party.

Ardern's record of results combating the recent global pandemic and other domestic successes is widely credited for her party's stunning landslide victory. Much of her support came from voters who had crossed party lines to support her Labour government. Ardent thanked these voters and promised her party "will not take your support for granted" when she addressed supporters who had gathered at the Auckland Town Hall stage to celebrate the resounding victory.

"I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander." Ardent said.

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