WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand’s ruling National Party won 44.4 percent of the votes in the country’s inconclusive Sept. 23 election, according to the final tally released on Saturday, while the opposition Labour Party took 36.9 percent.
The nationalist New Zealand First Party won 7.2 percent of the votes, leaving it with the balance of power in the formation of the next government. The Green Party, which has a working agreement with Labour, took 6.3 percent of the ballot.
The results show that the National Party has 56 seats in the 120-seat parliament, Labour 46, New Zealand First nine and the Greens eight.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has said he will make a decision which party to back to form a coalition government by Oct. 12. Peters has in past elections formed coalition governments with both the National Party and Labour.
Reporting by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Michael Perry