Election Results: Leftist Government Holds; Conservatives in Minority - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Election Results: Leftist Government Holds; Conservatives in Minority

Published April 26, 2009

The final results of the Icelandic election show the Social
Democrat/Leftist-Green government with a clear majority, with the
Conservatives taking major losses.
In a turn-out that saw 85% of eligible voters going to the polls, all counts show the following results:
Progressive Party: 14.80% – 9 seats.
Independence Party: 23.70% – 16 seats.
Liberal Party: 2.22% – 0 seats.
Citizen’s Movement: 7.22% – 4 seats.
Democracy Movement: 0.59% – 0 seats.
Social Democratic Alliance 29.79% – 20 seats.
Leftist-Greens: 21.68% – 14 seats.
Already talks between the Social Dems and Leftist-Greens are underway in the formation of the new government, which has a five seat majority. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir told reporters that the question of whether or not Iceland joins the EU “cannot wait”. While some pundits have speculated whether the Leftist-Greens stance of wanting Iceland to remains outside the EU will cause tensions, this is unlikely, as the party does support a national referendum on the question. Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told reporters his party has every intention of continuing their work with the Social Dems, and was as well pleased to see his party triple its numbers within the span of two years.
Bjarni Benediktsson, chairman of the conservative Independence Party, whose party had ruled for the previous 18 years, told reporters that he had expected losses for a number of reasons, but was happy to see a 16th MP come in during the early morning hours. His party previously held 25 seats, but the economic crash as well as recent discoveries of the party accepting large financial gifts from bank managers in 2006 have seriously damaged support.
The Progressives are pleased with the results, having gained two seats in parliament. The Liberals are naturally not happy, having lost all four seats, but party chairman Guðjón Arnar Kristjánsson says he intends to keep fighting, with his new goal now focussed on municipal elections next year.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the election was the Citizen’s Movement, formed only nine weeks ago in the wake of the January Revolution, having gained four seats in parliament. Þór Saari, an MP for the party, told reporters that he hopes his party can be a “guiding light” for the new government, although his party is in many ways in full agreement with the platform of the majority.
You can relive the excitement of election night here in Iceland by reading our liveblog from last night.
For a more in-depth analysis of what this election means and what the future could hold, check out my column on the subject.


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