September 23, 2017 / 9:00 AM / a year ago

New Zealand's ruling National ahead in early counting- electoral commission

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Votes cast for New Zealand’s ruling National Party reached 46.3 percent with 31.4 percent of results counted in the country’s general election on Saturday, while support for the opposition Labour Party was 36 percent, according to the Electoral Commission.

Voters wait outside a polling station at the St Heliers Tennis Club during the general election in Auckland, New Zealand, September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Nigel Marple

The nationalist New Zealand First Party had 7.1 percent of the vote so far, tipping it as a likely kingmaker in the German-style proportional representation system. Votes for the Green Party reached 6.2 percent.

A record 1.2 million ballots were cast before the day of the election, accounting for about a third of the 3.3 million New Zealanders enrolled to vote. In past elections, advanced votes were indicative of final results.

Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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