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NZ PM says final election tally does not weaken chances of forming a coalition government

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said a final election tally released on Saturday did not fundamentally change negotiations between his National Party and the nationalist New Zealand First Party to form a coalition government.

The final count in the Sept 23 election showed National had lost two seats compared to the preliminary count on election night, but remained in the lead with 56 seats, compared to the opposition Labour Party's 46.

"I don't think it weakens it significantly at all, the fundamentals haven't altered," Mr English told reporters in Queenstown in response to a question on his party's negotiation position.

The inconclusive election results have left neither major party with enough votes to form a government without populist New Zealand First, which holds nine seats.


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