The final results of New Zealand’s general election on October 14 will be published on Friday, paving the path for right-wing parties to begin seriously negotiating coalition arrangements.
The National Party and its preferred coalition partner, the libertarian ACT New Zealand party, secured a razor-thin electoral victory, securing 61 seats in the 121-seat legislature.
While National and ACT had the numbers to form a government on this count, that tally does not include roughly 567,000 special votes, or about 20% of the total.
Special votes, cast by New Zealanders living or travelling overseas, or those voting outside their constituency or newly enrolled, have historically seen conservative parties lose at least one seat.
If this is the case, National will need to also negotiate an agreement with New Zealand First to form a majority government.
The Electoral Commission will release the count at 2 p.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday.
National has been in talks with both ACT and NZ First since Oct. 14 but political commentator Bryce Edwards said they would be awaiting the outcome before getting to the final negotiations.
“Obviously they’re holding off to some degree until they have those final results because they’re actually going to quite consequential to the make up of the government,” Edwards said, adding that negotiations could take days or even weeks.
National leader Christopher Luxon, who will lead the new government, said on Thursday he did not know when the negotiations would be concluded but he did not expect to have a government formed in time to head to a Pacific Island Forum on Wednesday next week.
“We are ready to go and we want to get this sorted as quickly as possible so that we can get into the work,” said Luxon.
Under law, New Zealand’s Parliament has to sit within six weeks of the official election result but there is no date for when a government must be formed.