February 1, 2017 / 3:24 AM / 2 years ago

New Zealand PM calls national election for Sept. 23

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English speaks in Wellington, New Zealand, February 1, 2017 to announce the country's general election date will be on September 23. REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English called an election on Wednesday for Sept. 23 after taking over as premier in December following the unexpected resignation of his predecessor, John Key.

English’s center-right National Party has governed for the past eight years and is seeking a fourth term straight term, this time without the popular Key. The next election was due around September this year.

The center-left Labour and Green parties have formed an alliance to challenge the National Party.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Jane Wardell and Paul Tait

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