Final vote count in New Zealand election tightens close race
New Zealanders still don't know who will next lead their country after a final vote count from a general election held two weeks ago tightened the close race between liberals and incumbent conservatives.
Election officials on Saturday released the final 17 percent of the vote tally, including votes cast by people who were outside of their district or overseas during the election. The conservative National Party ended with 44 percent of the vote, while the liberal bloc of the Labour Party and the Green Party ended with a combined 43 percent.
Negotiations to form the next government will now begin in earnest.
Both sides will need to talk with the small New Zealand First party, led by maverick 72-year-old lawmaker Winston Peters. That party finished with 7 percent of the vote, leaving it holding the balance of power.