September 23, 2017 / 1:52 PM / 3 months ago

National Party leads with 46 pct of vote in New Zealand election

WELLINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s ruling National Party took 46 percent of votes in a hotly contested election but will still need New Zealand First to form a government, the Electoral Commission said early on Sunday.

The centre-left opposition Labour Party had received 35.8 percent of the vote and its ally the Green Party 5.8 percent. New Zealand First was on 7.5 percent, casting the populist party as the kingmaker in the country’s German-style proportional representation system.

A final tally including overseas votes will be released on Oct. 7.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; editing by Mark Heinrich

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