All of the so-called “big four” parties in Iceland – the Independence Party, the Social Democrats, the Leftist-Greens and the Progressives – took losses in municipal elections around the country, some more so than others.
While conservatives expressed jubilation as election results came in, they have little to cheer about. In municipal elections in 2006, about 41.6% of votes cast went to the Independence Party. Last Saturday, that figure was 37.4%. Furthermore, while they held on to or gained support in long-standing conservative strongholds in Garðabær, Reykjanesbæ and the Westman Islands, they also lost control of Kópavogur, Akranes, Akureyri and of course Reykjavík. The conservative celebration comes rather from the fact that they are comparing their numbers to what they received in the 2009 parliamentary elections, which was 23.7%. Hence the interprettation that they are doing better.
Not that the Social Democrats fared much better. 30% voted for the party in 2006 – about the same as they received in the 2009 parliamentary elections – but only 22.1% did the same last Saturday.
On a national level, the Progressives appeared to take only a small dip, from 11.8% in 2006 to 10.9% last Saturday, but in the capital area their losses were heavy – they only managed to get one town councilman in in Kópavogur, and one in Álftanes. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, they got 14.8% of the vote.
The Leftist-Greens also weakened between 2006 and 2010 – 12.6% voted for the party in previous municipal elections, but only 9.6% would do the same this year. Furthermore, the party won 21.7% of the vote in the 2009 parliamentary elections, making last Saturday’s losses look even more bleak.
It should also be noted that in 2006, there weren’t nearly as many “outside parties” running, and this year such parties had an undeniable effect on the results.