Race to replace New Zealand leader Key grows to 3

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The race to replace New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who stunned the nation by resigning this week, got a little crowded Tuesday with three conservative lawmakers saying they want the top job.

The contenders are Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Corrections Minister Judith Collins. Several other National Party lawmakers said they might enter the race.

In New Zealand, the prime minister is chosen by the governing party’s top lawmakers, who make up the caucus. The caucus is expected to take a vote at a meeting on Dec. 12. The new prime minister will have about 10 months to run the country before a general election next year.

Key had been a popular leader for eight years and was widely expected to contest a fourth straight election next year before his shock resignation on Monday.

Key has endorsed English, who is…

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