Polls close in New Zealand election with John Key front-runner to remain prime minister

Polling booths closed Saturday in New Zealand's general election with Prime Minister John Key seeking a third term in office.

Full results are expected by 11:30 p.m. (1130 GMT).

Earlier opinion polls indicated Key's center-right National Party is the most popular party, and Key the front-runner to remain the country's leader. But that could be in jeopardy if opposition parties gain more than half the parliamentary seats and form a coalition.

Key's closest rival is David Cunliffe, leader of the liberal Labour Party. His party has pledged to build tens of thousands of inexpensive homes for first-time buyers.

Supporters say Key's party has managed the economy well during six years in office. It has been growing at a 4 percent clip, while unemployment has dropped to 5.6 percent.