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New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern, an icon to many, to step down

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leaving office after nearly six years in which she was praised globally for her empathetic handling of the nation’s worst mass-shooting and health-driven response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fighting tears, Ardern said she had “given my absolute all” to the job but didn't have the reserve needed to serve another term. Feb. 7 will be her last day as prime minister. She'll remain a lawmaker until the elections, which she said would be held Oct. 14. Ardern was facing a tough campaign. Her liberal Labour Party won reelection two years ago in a historic landslide, but recent polls have put her party behind its conservative rivals.

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