For a few hours, the news circulated on social networks and local media: following the legislative elections on Saturday, September 25, the Althing, the Icelandic Parliament, was to be the first to show a majority of women.
Welcoming this, the Head of State Gudni Johannesson even had “Commended the progress made on the road to complete gender equality” from Agence France-Presse (AFP). Alas, on Sunday evening, a recount of the results revealed an error: the deputies will not be thirty-three, but thirty out of the sixty-three seats in the single chamber, according to information from RUV, the Icelandic public television, confirmed by the ‘AFP.
This news, which the final results should confirm, did not fail to disappoint many Icelanders. “It was a good nine hours”, lamented Lenya Run Taha Karim, of the Pirate Party, whose election was finally invalidated following the recalculation. At 21, this law student, daughter of Kurdish immigrants, would have been the youngest MP ever elected in the island of 350,000 inhabitants.
A consolation, despite everything: with 47.6% of seats held by women, the country would still hold the European record, just ahead of Sweden (47%). In the rest of the world, only the Rwanda, Cuba and Nicaragua have a lower or single chamber with a majority of women, while Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have parity.
“Fragmentation of the political scene”
The Icelandic poll confirmed the majority of the ruling coalition since 2017, a strange alliance between the Independence Party (conservative right), the Green and Left Movement (environmental left) and the centrists of the Progress Party. It won four more seats, for a total of thirty-seven. “This progression is entirely due to the Progress Party, the big winner of this election, with a margin that nobody expected”, observed Michel Sallé, doctor in political science and connoisseur of the country, author of the book History of Iceland, from its origins to the present day (Tallandier editions, 2018). The Progress Party won 17.3% of the vote, almost 7 points more than in 2017.
The Independence Party holds its own, with 24.4% of the vote, while the Environmental Movement of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir comes out weakened, with 12.9% of the vote, against 16.9% in 2017. It does not. It is therefore not certain that she will retain this post, nor that the three formations continue to govern together.
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