From Iceland — It's Election Day! And We'll Be Live-Blogging As Ballot Results Come In - UPDATED 06:48

It’s Election Day! And We’ll Be Live-Blogging As Ballot Results Come In – UPDATED 06:48

Published April 25, 2009

RÚV is reporting that there’s a problem in the Southeast district, where dozens (up to a hundred) votes seem to have gone missing. In any case, there has been a discrepancy between the number of votes counted and the ones handed out. In all honesty, though, it doesn’t seem like it would change anything either way, the story is more like an interesting tidbit. It will, however, delay the final numbers from the district turning in. How do these votes get lost anyway?
As we prepare to hit bed (it is seven AM already – BEDTIME FOR DEMOCRACY), 89.9% of votes cast have been counted. Here’s the latest:
Progressive Party: 14.10% – 10 seats.
Independence Party: 22.881% – 15 seats.
Liberal Party: 2.08% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 6.92% – 4 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.51% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 29.51% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 21.00% – 14 seats.
As we left for bed, final counts are in for the following districts: Reykjavík North, Reykjavík South and South district. This leaves us waiting for numbers from the Northwest district, the Northeast district and the Southwest one.
Y’all. Thanks so much for being here tonight. It really wouldn’t have been the same without you. This election night has brought backsome good memories. Check out this story of when some friends and I fake-mailed the RÚV election broadcast. It was real fun.

Now RÚV have got Gísli Einarsson in a strange hat reporting outside of the house of Parliament, with a bunch of drunk teenagers in the background. More numbers soon, feast yourself on this New York Times article on the Icelandic Elections in the meantime.

So, this particular branch of the Grapevine staff has made it home safely from the election party. Good times were shared by all, and quite a few drinks. And this reporter can happily proclaim not to have spilled any drinks nor broken glasses, which most people would agree is quite the feat for this particular journalist.
Election TV has been fun. Especially around half an hour back, when they screened the whole, un-cut episode of “Party chairpersons visit the farm!” courtesy of megastar reporter Gísli Einarsson. It was quite amusing to see the politicians milking cows and ear-tagging sheep, not to mention driving all sorts of farm vehicles. Most of them seemed forced in their farmsmanship (this is a word – spellcheck ain’t making any comments about it in any case). Yes, politicians got to degrade themselves for our amusement. Reality TV style. Good times. Great TV. Politicians and farm animals.
(For the record, now RÚV is reporting from a gas station. They’re interviewing their second hot-dog vendor of the night. Apparently, no hot dog buyers have been upset by the election, or wants to discuss them with the attendants. They just want hot dogs. Good times).
Latest reports state 88% of the ballots have been counted now at 5:34. And the results are thusly:
Progressive Party: 13.86% – 10 seats.
Independence Party: 22.91% – 15 seats.
Liberal Party: 2.02% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 7.01% – 4 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.51% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 29.57% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 20.92% – 14 seats.

Everybody on TV looks real sleepy. And the parties in the background seem to be dying down. Just take a second to imagine what a bummer it must be to attend a losing party’s party. Even if they have free booze, you still have only the elections and your failure to talk about. It’s not good times, I’m sure.
More things we’ve learned:
-The Progressives are very happy with the results, and they’ve been quoted as saying that this marks “the renaissance of the party”.
-Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Social Dems chairwoman, says that the great number of ballot strike-outs for this election reflect people’s disenchantment and disappointment with politicians. And that this probably marks the end of the newfangled “primary tradition” that most of the parties have been adhering to.
-Both the Independence Party and the Progressive’s feel too much energy was spent on discussing their corruption leading up to the elections.
-Pineapple-coconut juice and rum mix real well. It’s like a less thick Pina Colada.
-Live-blogging is an interesting act.
More soon. It’s not BEDTIME FOR DEMOCRACY just yet…
All votes in Reykjavík South and North counted – 2 districts down, 4 to go. 81.8% of the country’s votes have been counted. Still 34,958 left to count.
Progressive Party: 13.06% – 9 seats.
Independence Party: 23.12% – 16 seats.
Liberal Party: 1.90% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 7.25% – 4 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.52% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 29.98% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 21.02% – 14 seats.
All percentages are dropping in tiny little increments (and will very soon level out) with the exception of the Social Dems and Leftist-Greens, who hold their own. The Independence Party might see a very modest raise, but in all likelihood not enough to get another seat.
Derp. Citizen’s Movement lost a seat. Independence Party gained one. Updating results below. All votes in Reykjavík South and North counted – 2 districts down, 4 to go. 81% of the country’s votes have been counted.
Progressive Party: 13.06% – 9 seats.
Independence Party: 23.11% – 16 seats.
Liberal Party: 1.81% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 7.29% – 4 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.53% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 29.98% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 21.02% – 14 seats.
Alright, here are updated numbers. The Social Dems and Leftist-Greens continue to increase in ballot support, and the Conservatives have taken some heavy losses. With about an 83% voter turn-out this time around. As it stands now, about 68% of the votes have been counted. The likelihood of any big comebacks begins to rapidly accelerate towards null. Not a done deal, but the exact numbers will of course have to wait until the ballots with stricken-out candidates have been counted at the end of the counting process. And with 20% of Conservative ballots and 5% of Social Dem ballots havnig stricken-out names on them, this means exact numbers won’t be apparent for a while yet.
Anyway, here’s where we are now:
Progressive Party: 13.94% – 9 seats.
Independence Party: 23.13% – 15seats.
Liberal Party: 1.82% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 7.57% – 5 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.45% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 30.50% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 20.53% – 14 seats.
That’s right. The current Social Dem/Leftist-Green government has 34 of parliament’s 63 seats. But wait, you say, the Independence Party has 15 seats. The likelihood of the Social Dems actually re-forming the very coalition that incited a massive civil movement against the government that led to these early elections is not very likely. There’s the surreal idea of a Social Dem/Progressive minority coalition supported by the Citizen’s Movement, but then you’d have to forget all about the increased tensions between the two parties lately. And what would it be for?
A Social Dem/Lefist-Green government looks fairly likely at this point.
This has been a pretty historic election. The conservative Independence Party has run this country for the past 18 years, and there has never been a Lefist government. The conservatives are going to have to seriously re-think their entire platform; their hereditary ballots base aren’t going to last forever. Would four years be long enough to do it? A lot of that depends on whether or not the lefist government will succeed in turning the economy around. The Social Dems are already talking about these election results as a sign that the people want to join the EU. The lastest polls show actually the opposite result, but they’re right to feel an upswing of support from the nation. Everyone likes the Prime Minister. This is what led to the hypothetical talk of forming alliances with other parties – can they reach an agreement with the Leftist-Greens over the issue? In reality, it’s a non-issue, because despite the Leftist-Green platform of Iceland remaining outside the EU, they still support a national referendum on the matter. So the other possible coalition candidates, on top of all other realities, have nothing to offer the Social Dems, really.
Whether or not Iceland joins the EU, if Iceland’s current government holds a majority, it will have four years to make significant improvements to the Icelandic economy if they want to make it through the next election. Whether the conservatives will resort to sabotage remains to be seen.
Ah. So much fun on the election TV. Just finished watching Páll Óskar list his Eurovision favourites, and now we’ve got the parties’ youth movement leaders espousing their opinions. These are all handsome, articulate people, and they do a fine job of reflecting “the elder opinion”. Well, except for the Lib guy, Viðar Helgi Guðjohnsen, who kinda dumped all over the party’s chairman, Guðjón Arnar Kristjánsson. I think I’m being pretty accurate when I say that young Viðar, along with his idol Magnús Þór Hafsteinsson (who spouts similar views on his blog) is a firm part of the Libs “populist, borderline-racist” contingent (seriously) that most sensible folks believe is the reason for the party’s failing. People in my party are actively booing the TV as he speaks.
Anyway. These folks aren’t saying anything new. They’re all visibly tipsy. Ooohh.. and now the LG and Social Dem reps are debating the EU. And their parties future collaboration…
Presenter: Do you all foster ambitions in politics?
Prog: “I have ambitions for my party. People shouldn’t seek personal gains in politics. It’s the issues that matter.”
Lib: “I’m not running now. I want to speak of the EU. Polls show people aren’t really interested in joining. But it matters that the issue gets a fair talk. Media has been abused. When the dems say that we’ll get stability as soon as we join. But the Polish people aren’t getting any stability, even though they want to join. And Germany, they’re fighting unemployment, because they can’t adapt to changes. They’ve no liberty.
LG: “I have ambitions for influence, and I know that I can have an influence within my party. For equality, for environmentalism and equality. So that suits my ambition.”
Independent: “I have ambitions and the future will determine what happens.”
More soon!
Oh snap! After the latest figures from the Southwest district came in, the Progressives just lost a seat, and the Citizen’s Movement picked one up. All else remains unchanged.
Here’s a fun fact for you: in Iceland, votes of no confidence – blank ballots – are counted as invalid ballots. In other words, submitting a ballot that says “None of the above” is essentially considered “Huh, this ballot was filled out wrong. Throw it away.” It would be interesting to see what would happen if a “blank ballot party” were formed to get around this election law, so that a more accurate picture of voter confidence could be seen.
I just received a phone call from a slightly tipsy Social Dem friend of mine, congratulating me (and himself by proxy, I suppose) for the results thus far. The events of the past months – well, OK, of the past 16 years – have made many of us more than a little bit jaded about politicians. There are no messianic cults of personality for Icelandic politicians. But hearing how happy my friend was, I couldn’t but feel a swell of pride myself. We, the people, had enough. We demanded the corrupt step down from the seat of power, we demanded a new election, and it looks like we put a whole new team in charge. Within the span of a few months. I know Iceland has been the favorite financial laughing stock of some foreign media, but I’d say tonight shows us as having gone further than many other countries have gone to right economic wrongs. So pardon me while I enjoy it a bit.
UPDATE 02:09
We’ve got the numbers!
So the latest from RÚV is thus:
Progressives: 14.23%, 10 MPs
Independents 22.51%, 15 MPs
Liberals 1.88% 0 MPs
Citizen’s Movement: 7.46% 4 MPs
Social Dems: 30.35% 20 MPs
Left-Greens: 20.94% 14 MPs
Democracy Movement: 0.48 (that’s 536 votes) 0 MPs
In other news, we just got interviewed by the BBC about the elections. They were really scared they’d woken us up when they called, but they didn’t. And we had a nice time chatting with the Brits. There seems to be an assumption that there’s a general joy in the air over the left parties winning a victory, but to me it feels like people are just kinda happy that the Conservatives got their asses whupped (cuz of all the corruption and responsibilities and stuff), and glad that the same people that got us into our mess aren’t governing still. But I don’t feel like the “spirit of the protests” is winning out or anything. That would have called for much more radical reform, in my opinion.
It’s still pretty cool that the Citizen’s Movement is doing so well. They have waged a fair campaign and their platform seems interesting enough.
Anyway. Back to watching TV. And drinking. Fun times!

Alright, they’ve gotten on the party chairmen together on RÚV now to talk about this new development of literally thousands of people crossing candidates off of ballots. And while this has mostly touched the Conservatives and the Social Dems, apparently quite a few had crossed out Citizen Movement candidate (and new MP) Þráinn Bertelsson. Their spokesman responded by saying he considered it good news and cause for celebration that people where exercising their democraatic rights. Can’t complain with that.
But perhaps the most entertaining part of the interview was seeing the Conservative chairman begin by complaining about how much attention the media paid to the heaps of money his party accepted in financial gifts from bank managers. He trotted out that tired old trope that the corrupt are fond of using – that the media is sensationalist, and in constant search of scandal, whilst ignoring all the wonderful things his party does. You see, when I do something bad, it’s YOUR fault for ignoring all my good points.
The Leftist-Greens chairman was quick to jump into this subject, and quite accurately pointed out the arrogance it takes to complain about news coverage when you’ve been exposed as corrupt. Good times all round.
In any event, it looks like the leftist government is holding its own quite well, with the Social Dem/Leftist-Green partnership with a seven-seat majority, as they’ve had all evening. More updates to come.
I cannot look at the Progressive chairman. He has all the facial expressions, posture, and hand gestures of a televangelist. Only more boring. And it doesn’t help that he just prattles on and on about what his critics have said about his party. PROTIP: If you spend more time talking about what other people say against you than the positive things you have to say about yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
Alright, the news is saying now that 20% of the ballots that chose the Independence Party and 5% of ballots for the Social Dems had candidates crossed out. As I said earlier, this can effect where on a list a person appears – you can be knocked further down the list. Oh, but guess what? They count crossed-out ballots last. So yeah, exact figures probably won’t be in until very late tonight. Whee~
UPDATE 00:56
Wow. So if the other Grapevine staff that just blogged here (not sure who… we have like three people on staff) are right, we are getting our first ever left government. That’s kinda interesting for a semi-Scandinavian country. But it should be noted that the Conservatives or Independents or whatever you want to call them have during history often been surprisingly far left in their actions and policies, especially before the Thatcherist-reign of the last eighteen years. And when you think about how the country’s been run (save for our int’l policies), that makes sense.
So I (Haukur) thought I should give you some background on what you’re reading here. I’m spending my election night like I imagine a lot of Icelanders are spending theirs. I am at a friend’s house with five other folks and we are sharing drinks and snacks and watching the election coverage, sharing opinions and fun-facts. It’s actually a pretty good time. And it’s also interesting to note that out of the six people present (all in their late twenties or early thirties), almost none voted for the same parties. It’s a diverse and fun bunch – I hope you reader types are having as good fun wherever you are).
ANYWAY, now for some real information here:
According to the RÚV web-site (Grapevine’s OFFICIAL ELECTION SOURCE), the run down is thusly (I can’t seem to figure out how many votes have been counted, but it’s around 40% according to my friend Geiri):
Progressive Party: 12.9% of the vote, 9 MPs
Independence Party: 22.89% of the vote, 15 MPs
Citizen’s Movement: 7.84%, 4 MPs
Liberal Party:
1.82 %, 0 MPs
Democracy Movement: 0.49%, 0 MPs
Left-Green Party: 20.48 %, 14 MPs
Social Democratic Alliance:
31.55%, 21 MPs
Note that there are 63 MPs usually. If they’d done the cool anarchist thing and left empty seats for empty votes, it would be a lot cooler. Seriously, have you considered that option? It would accurately reflect the will of the people. If I don’t want to hire any of the people running for the job, I feel my vote should be reflected by an empty seat. It makes a lot of sense. Go anarchist ideals.

UPDATE 12:25
OK, you know what? I’m going to flip a coin and pick a news source for our election figures. Because they can’t seem to make up their minds between each other. And the winner is … RÚV. Congratulations, RÚV.
Anyway, the figures overall haven’t changed with regards to the Social Dem/Leftist-Green majority. It’s still seven seats. However, the Leftist-Greens just gained a seat while the Social Dems lost one.
Also, they interviewed Þráinn Bertelsson, writer and Citizen’s Movement candidate who won a seat in parliament. He seemed pretty chill. Lilja Mósesdóttir from the Leftist-Greens, herself a new MP, pointed out that this is the first time in Icelandic history that Iceland has a leftist government. Is that true? Damn. Give yourselves a pat on the back, ya’ll! Guðlaugur Þór, an MP from the Conservatives, tried his best to smile when the journalist was talking to him brought up loads of people who crossed his name off the ballot, giving that line about how they’re just happy to be in, and so forth. His hair looked nice.
Also, I’m getting a little bit tired of the Social Dems taking their results as proof that Iceland wants to join the EU. You know, guys, it is possible that maybe Iceland isn’t a country of single-issue voters. Maybe they’re voting for you for other reasons. Clearly, they are, as the most recent polls show two-thirds of Iceland against joining the EU. So tone down the Euro rhetoric, k?
UPDATE 23:50
OK, there appears to be some discrepancy between what RÚV reports
and what reports – the former is saying that the Citizen’s
Movement has won four seats, while the latter is saying five. Who knows
what that means. I guess they’re getting their vote counts from
different sources maybe? The figures were updated like five
minutes ago.
Also, I agree with Haukur that watching the Conservatives on television was fun. I love the forced smiles. Watching the pundits blathering about hypothetical governments? BO-RING. It’s Social Dem/Leftist-Green. They’ve got the majority. The only other majority the Social Dems could form would be with the Conservatives (a partnership that caused the revolution in the first place), and the EU issue isn’t really that big a deal to the Leftist-Greens, as they favor a national referendum. The Lefties have taken over. Deal, people.
UPDATE 23:40
Watching the party chairpeople’s speeches. Two interesting things. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, of the Social Dems, quoted a legendary speech of hers in saying that “OUR TIME HAS COME!” It got her a great applause and was funny. The rest of her speech was, you know, self-congratulatory and stuff. They are according to the latest polls the largest party in Iceland, and of course they’ll celebrate that.
Then they flipped over to Bjarni Benediktsson’s (of the Indies) ehrm… non-victory speech. He was pepping his people, raising their spirits. Here’s a memorable quote: “Today, a lot of Independence Party people turned their backs on us. I will have you know that as of tomorrow morning, we are after you!” He then added “…with our awesome new policies,” which kind of puts it into context. But it’s still a really funny thing to say.
Gosh, I love the unsteady camera work and stuff. Maybe they should abandon the whole election TV and just live blog it like us?
Here’s another funny thing: all of the parties (save for the Independents) are hosting their election night parties at bars or other places of alcohol (wonder if the Independents are getting free booze? Maybe they all are. The Indies do have an excellent house for themselves). And whenever the cameras zoom in on them, they look all “PARTY!!! EXCELLENT!!! AWESOME STUÐ!!” and you know. Getting drunk and stuff. I wonder if Obama got drunk on election night. Do you guys think he did? I’m having a beer, but then again, I am not affiliated with any political parties.
Also: the pundits are proving extremely un-surprising in their opinions. Which was to be expected. The chicken was great, if you were wondering.
Fun times!

UPDATE 23:15
Uh oh! Now they’re saying a lot of people have been crossing names of candidates off of ballots. This is actually a valid form of political exercise in Iceland, and enough cross-outs can cost people seats. While no exact figures have been given, RÚV has said that “thousands” of people have crossed out the politicians who’ve appeared on the news lately as having accepted financial gifts. Quelle surprise.
Anyway, the government has a solid majority of seven seats. Both the Social Dems and the Leftist-Greens have added three and four seats respectively. The Citizen’s Movement has FIVE seats. The Progressives have added two additional seats, and now have nine seats. The Liberals get nothing. The Conservatives took a massive hit, losing ten seats, and are now down to 15 seats. Pardon me while I have a Nelson Munce moment here.

UPDATE 23:10
Still watching the election coverage on RÚV. We flipped over to channel two a bit earlier (“Stöð 2”) and they had Bubbi wearing sunglasses, being incomprehensible. Which isn’t really surprising. The incomprehensible bit, that is. I was quite surprised to see him wear sunglasses inside.
The Conservative Party’s chairman, Bjarni Benediktsson, is looking all sad and stuff. He thinks that voters haven’t responded well enough to the parties’ attempts at renaissance, and that they had an up hill battle. Which is true when you think of it.
Wow! Now we have new numbers from the NW district. They’ve counted 3.500 votes out of the 21.294. The Progs get 21.6%, the Indies get 21.3%, Libs get 5.1%, Citizen’s score 3.1%, Democracy Movement (I am going to stop noting their following momentarily, as it seems a pointless exercise. Sorry, Ástþór. Anway, Social Dems score 27.7 % and the LGs get 19.7%.
Apparently, these new numbers don’t change anything nationwide. And they don’t change how the district’s MPs get divided. Wow!
RÚV really don’t know how to work their technology. This is laughable to watch. They were showing “scenes from elections past” earlier, and were making fun of the fact that they had to use pen and paper to display the results, but goddamn, at least they knew how to operate pens and paper. They’re really bad at all that computer stuff.
Anyone else notice that Sigmundur Davíð, the Progressive’s chairman, kinda loks like an alien. He also keeps moving his eyes to the left. It looks sinister. Not that I have anything against the guy. I just noticed. It’s TV.
More numbers soon. Now we eat chicken. Woohoo!

UPDATE 22:47

Anyways, a little background info:
The Independence Party, also called the Conservatives, have been in
power pretty much since forever. Around the office we believe their
high numbers are due primarily to “hereditary voting” – people voting
for a party simply because their parents did, or everyone else in their
family is. I mean, seeing as how they pretty much destroyed our economy
and have been recently very publicly busted for accepting millions in
donations from banks and businessmen, they should be polling much lower
than they are. We refuse to accept that the average voter is just that
misguided. Or maybe we’re just naive.
The Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens hold the center-left and
solid left, respectively, in Icelandic politics. The Social Dems like
to think of themselves as following the hallowed tradition of
Scandinavian social democratic principles, and are generally more
European minded. The Leftist-Greens are a bit firmer in their
convictions with regards to the environment, the EU, militarism and
women’s rights. But then again, they’ve not really had these principles
put to the test of being in government, where perpetual compromise is
required. So we’ll see how they fare if they indeed do form the next
The Progressive Party is nearly 100 years old. Originally the farmer’s
party, they’ve been in a constant state of re-invention. This would
include their brand, shiny new chairman who’s only joined the party
months previous, as well the party’s complete 180° turn on the EU
issue. They’ll be lucky to break even.
As for the Liberals, with all due respect for Guðjón and his battle
against the quota, no one held a gun to this guy’s head and told him to
let some of his more prominent members spout xenophobic garbage. Not to
mention the eerie silence that surrounded the party in a cloak of
invisibility throughout the January Revolution. The country’s moving on
without them. Oh well.
The Citizen’s Movement, though. Wow. This nine-week-old dark house is
pulling in some impressive numbers. Their platform’s not too shabby
either. Four seats might be enough to keep (what looks to be the future
left-wing) government honest.
As always, it’s a roller coaster.

UPDATE 22:27
OK, well, looking at the first numbers
that Haukur put in, I have to say there are few surprises here. Also,
understand that the Alliance Party and the Social Democrats are the
same people – we use them interchangably. Hope that doesn’t confuse
I think the real surprise of the night would have to be
the Citizen’s Movement. I mean, they’re barely nine weeks old, and are
pulling in double-digit figures in some places. That’s nothing to
sneeze at. Some would argue this is barely a surprise, though, seeing
as how the group is comprised of many of the various groups who
participated in the January Revolution.
Why the Leftist-Greens aren’t polling better is anyone’s guess. But then again, these are just the first numbers.

Now the numbers are in from North East district. They’ve got 28.362 registered voters, and have counted 6.000 votes. The Progressives have scored an impressive 18.9%, the Indies have gotten 18%, the Libs get 1 %, the Citizens have 2.4%, the Dems have 0.3%, the Alliance has 27.3% and Left-Greens have 31.1 %. RÚV’s Bogi just said that the Indies have lost 10% of their vote in the district.
Now they’re doing the first numbers from Reykjavík North. And they’re saying that the Progs get 11%, the Indies get 21%, the Libs get 1.8%, the Cits get 9.8%, the Alliance get 30.7% and LGs have 24.9%.
Now the dude’s saying that we have numbers from every district, and the current government majority holds with a combined 52.9%, with the Alliance gettng 22 MPs and the LGs scoring 13 ones. The Progs will have 9 ones, the Indies have 15 and the Citizen’s Movement, who are running for the first time, are getting four MPs in…
Now they’re interviewing the Party chairmen. Katrín Jakobsdóttir of the LGs is visibly disappointed that they didn’t manage to score all the votes the polls promised, and  PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir looks satisfied. Same is to be said for Jóhann Kristjánsson from the Citizen’s Movement, who says they’re doing things on their own terms, and have only spent about a million ISK on the campaign. Ooohh, here’s Bjarni Ben of the Independence Party. He looks pissed. As he should be. The party is really losing a lot of following. Wonder why…
Now Guðjón Arnar from the Libs, he looks rather sorry. We’re sorry for him too, he was a good voice in parliament, and he fought a good fight. Sigmundur Davíð of the Progressives looks smugly satisfied with their following, as he should be. No one really expected them to do well. Oh and Ástþór Magnússon of the Democracy Movement  refused to participate in the debates.
Anyway. More updates on their way.
UPDATE 22:12
The first numbers from the ballot count are in. From the South-West district: they’ve counted 14.500 valid votes that divide thusly: Progressive Party gets 11.4 %, Independents get 25.2%, Progressives get 1.7%, Citizen’s Movement get 8.3%, Alliance Party gets 38.9 %, the Democracy Movement get 0.7% and Left Greens get 12.2%. And they just reported they’re not counting empty ballots. That’s pretty shitty.
Now, the first numbers from the North West district are in. The Progressives are scoring an amazing 16.3%, the Independents have scored 22.4%, the  Liberal Party scores 7.5%, the Citizens get 3.3%, the Democracy Movement gets 0.1 %, Alliance gets 22.1 % and the Left-Greens are scoring 21.8%. And according to these numbers, the Liberals are no longer represented in Parliament.
Reykjavík South numbers:
They’ve counted over 20.000 votes. I didn’t catch how many were on record. Should probably look it up. Now, the Progressives are scoring 11.5%, the Independents are scoring 20.6%, the Liberals have 2.4%, The Citizen’s Movement are getting 10.5%, the Democracy Movement has 0.7%, the Alliance has 31.9% and Left-Greens have 19.5%
According to what’s in, the government should hold by 53% of the popular vote. Says RÚV.
Now for the first numbers of the South district.
They counted 9.530 votes out of 32.505. And the Progressives have 17.2%, the Independents have 28.4 %, the Libs have 2.3 %, the Citizen’s Movement  have got 5%, the Democracy movement have got 0.3 %, the Alliance has 30% and the LG’s have gotten 16.7%
Now, keep in mind that the first numbers don’t really mean anything so
much, they keep changing and changing throughout the night and these
initial ones reflect 8% of the vote.
More real soon…

UPDATE 21:35
So the RÚV (Icelandic State Television) election coverage commenced around 25 minutes ago, and the first verdict is in: the RÚV election coverage looks ill-prepared and unprofessional thus far. And they keep stumbling and being all confused and stuff. Since they’ve had a couple of months to prepare, it’s kind of embarrassing, right? I mean, you could say that Grapevine isn’t always really professional, but it’s not like we get billions of ISK from Icelandic tax-payers yearly to pay people for being professional…
ANYWAY, They’ve introduced their team of pundits, led by Iceland’s only professional one, Egill Helgason, it also features input from Morgunblaðið journalist Agnes Bragadóttir (she’s known to like the Independence Party),  blogger Pétur Gunnarsson (who at some point loved on the Progressive Party and probably still does) and Óskar Guðmundsson (Alliance Party affiliate). They’ll be debating the results every now and again, and what they have to say is rather predictable. Should make for some interesting bits however.
They also have entertainment from the good fellows of Spaugstofan, and have threatened to show the occasional Eurovision video to uhm… keep the party going.
Just now they showed this amazingly ludicrous video of the party chairmen doing farm work. Left-Green chairman driving a forklift, Independence Party guy Bjarni Ben driving a tractor and Guðjón Arnar Kristjánsson, of the (probably) dying Liberal Party tagging sheep ears. Gosh, I am glad we live in such an enlightened country.

Today is Election Day for Iceland, as we try and find a suitable
government to clean up the mess all those other governments left us
with). Voting commenced this morning at 9 AM and will go on until 10 PM. As this is written at almost 7 PM, voter turnout is already projected to be considerably better than in the 2007 elections, several media have reported. RÚV’s election TV coverage will commence at 9PM and the first numbers are expected to be in around 11. Stay tuned to this space for real-time election coverage.
To acquaint yourself with  the parties running and their platforms, head on over to our ‘ELECTION FEVER’ page.
For a nice personal account of the day and what it means, as well as some interesting statistics, check out this post of the swell Iceland Weather Report blog.

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