According to the election results announced on Sunday, Iceland has become the first country in Europe to elect a majority of women into the parliament. The alliance still accounts for the majority.
First in Europe. According to the results announced on Sunday, September 26, Iceland elected a majority of women into the parliament, the day after the country’s general election vote. According to the final prediction made by the final results of the voting held on Saturday in this country of 370,000 residents, of the 63 seats in Althingi, 33 seats will be held by women, accounting for 52.3%.
According to data compiled by the World Bank, no country in Europe has exceeded the symbolic 50% mark in parliament so far, and Sweden has so far ranked first with 47% of female parliamentarians.
“I’m 85 years old and I’ve been waiting for women to become the majority (…) and I’m really happy,” Reykjavik resident Eldna told AFP.
Although some political parties themselves retain a minimum percentage of women among their candidates, there is no law setting a quota for women in Iceland’s legislative elections. This Nordic country has been at the forefront of feminism and has been at the top of the World Economic Forum’s gender equality rankings for 12 consecutive years.
“I am very satisfied with more than 50% of seats for women, and I think this is a normal development of what has happened in Iceland for a century,” said Thora Kolbeinnsdottir, bookseller and social worker.
Behind this historic female priority, the main victim of these elections was a contradictory woman: Prime Minister Katrine Jacobsdottir, her left-wing Environmental Party lost three seats to 12.6% The votes fell behind her two current right-wing allies.
Iceland freed from political deadlock
The biggest winner is the Progressive Party (center right), which won 13 seats with 17.3% of the vote, 5 more than the last election in 2017. A celebration was held at the party’s headquarters on Saturday night to “return to the forefront of the political arena”, launched under the leadership of its leader Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who found himself as prime minister.
But former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s Conservative Party still leads Iceland with 24.4% of the vote, maintaining its 16 seats when opinion polls forecast a decline.
The three coalition parties have a total of 37 seats, thus consolidating their majority, but the right wing finds itself in a superior position and can choose to find another ideologically closer third party, such as the centrist Reform Party. (Five seats) or the Central Committee (three representatives) or even the People’s Party (six seats).
Although it is uncertain whether the three parties will continue to govern together, and negotiations are traditionally lengthy, Iceland is moving away from the political blockade feared by opinion polls.
Since the large-scale bankruptcy of Icelandic banks in 2008 and the severe crisis that followed, the outgoing Icelandic government has never retained a majority of seats. We must go back to 2003 to find a precedent.
The management of health crises is welcomed
Analysts said that discussions must be held between the leaders of these three parties, and there will inevitably be questions about the future tenants of Stjornarradid, the humble White House where the head of the Icelandic government is located.
“Given the recession we are seeing, the left-wing Green Party may have to reassess their position in the government,” said Eva Önnudóttir, professor of political science at the University of Iceland.
Since 2017, the Prime Minister has increased tax progressiveness, invested in social housing and extended parental leave. His management of Covid-with only 33 deaths-was welcomed.
But the rare left-wing ecologist in power also had to give up to save her alliance, such as her promise to establish a national park in the center of the country.
After a decade of crises and scandals, the outgoing alliance marked the return of political stability in Iceland.
This is the second time the government has completed its term since the 2008 financial crisis destroyed banks and many Icelanders, with five elections held between 2007 and 2017.