Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Iceland in brief celebrated the election of a female majority parliament on Sunday, before a report shows that there will still be more men than women in the chamber, reports the state broadcaster RUV.

In the initial vote, female candidates won 33 seats in the 63-seat Icelandic parliament, the Althing, in an election in which centrist parties won the most seats.

Hours later, a score in the north-west of Iceland changed the result, and female candidates left 30 seats, a score previously achieved during Iceland’s second most recent election, in 2016.

Yet it is almost 48 percent of the total the highest percentage for female legislators in Europe. On the continent, Sweden and Finland have 47 percent and 46 percent women’s representatives in parliament, respectively.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda leads the world with women making up 61 percent of the House of Representatives, with Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico on or just over the 50 percent mark. Worldwide, the organization says just over a quarter of lawmakers are women.

Iceland, an island in the North Atlantic Ocean with 371,000 people, has been named the country with the most gender equality for the 12th year in a row in a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) released in March.

“The female victory remains the big story of these elections,” professor of politics Olafur Hardarson told RUV.

The Minister of Finance, leader and top candidate of the Icelandic Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson (left) and delegates from the party respond to the results obtained on 25 September 2021 on a monitor in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, during the parliamentary elections of the country appears on the monitor to select members of the country the Althing [Halldor Kolbeins/ AFP]

The voting system of Iceland was divided into six regions and the count in the west of Iceland was kept after a fierce battle in the northwestern constituency, according to Ingi Tryggvason, the head of the election commission there.

“We decided to do a recalculation because the result was so close,” Tryggvason told the AFP news agency, adding that no one had requested the story.

The decision had no bearing on the overall election result.

The three parties in the outgoing coalition government led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir won a total of 37 seats in Saturday’s vote, two more than in the previous election.

The coalition brought Iceland four years of stability after ten years of political crises, but Jakobsdottir’s left-green movement weakened after losing ground to its right-wing partners, both of whom performed strongly.

The Left-Green Movement won only eight seats, three fewer than in 2017, raising questions about Jakobsdottir’s future as prime minister.

The center-right Independence Party won the largest votes and won 16 seats, seven of which were held by women. The Centrist Progressive Party celebrates the biggest win, winning 13 seats, five more than last time.

The three parties have not announced whether they will cooperate for another term, but given the strong support of voters, it seems likely. It will take days, if not weeks, before a new government is formed and announced.

The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and the top candidate of the Left-Green Movement will vote on 25 September 2021 at a polling station in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. [Halldor Kolbeins/ AFP]

Jakobsdottir on Sunday with private broadcaster Stod 2 refused not to speak at the future talks of the coalition and only said that her government had received ‘remarkable’ support in the election.

The leader of the Progressive Party, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, and the leader of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, said that they were prepared to discuss a continuation of the coalition.

Benediktsson told Stod 2 that it was “normal for parties that have been working together for four years and have good personal relationships” to try to go together.

But he told the public broadcaster RUV that he was not sure if it would succeed.

He also said he would not claim the post of prime minister.

The unusual coalition that mixes left and right has emerged to stability after years of political upheaval.

Deep public distrust of politicians amid repeated scandals sent Icelanders to the ballot box five times between 2007 and 2017.

This is the first time since 2003 that a government has retained its majority.

Climate change was high on the election agenda in Iceland due to an unusually hot summer by Icelandic standards – with 59 days of temperatures above 20C (68F) – and shrinking glaciers.

But this has apparently not led to greater support for any of the four left-wing parties that have been working to reduce carbon emissions by more than what Iceland is committed to under the Paris Climate Agreement.

One candidate who saw her victory overturned by the story was law student Lenya Run Karim, a 21-year-old daughter of Kurdish immigrants who opted for the anti-establishment Pirate Party.

“It was a good nine hours,” said Karim, who would have been the youngest legislator in Iceland ever.

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