From Iceland — Coalition Loses Majority, Progressives Gain Two Seats - UPDATED

Coalition Loses Majority, Progressives Gain Two Seats – UPDATED

Published June 5, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

The Social Democrats won the most seats in last night’s Reykjavík city council elections, but a new ruling coalition will have to be formed. UPDATE: A new coalition has been formed, consisting of four parties.

Reykjavík voters turned out for yesterday’s municipal elections in record low numbers, with just under 63% of eligible voters casting a total of 56,896 ballots. 

Votes were counted late into the night, with the final results as follows:

The Social Democrats won 31.9% of the vote, and now have five seats on city council, up from three seats during the last election. They are the largest party on city council, and will therefore be leading the next ruling coalition.

What form that coalition will take is still not clear. Bright Future, the sister party of the now-defunct Best Party, won only 15.6%, going from six seats to two. UPDATE: Vísir reports that a new coalition has been formed. Led by the Social Democrats, they will form their coalition with Bright Future, the Left-Greens and the Pirates. This gives them a nine-seat majority on city council.

The Independence Party won 25.7% of the vote, going from five seats on city council to four. The Left-Green Movement won 8.3% of the vote, hanging onto the seat they have, while the Pirate Party won 5.9%, gaining their first seat on city council in the final hours of the ballot counting.

The Progressive Party, however, won 10.7%, taking them from zero seats on city council to two.

None of the other parties won enough votes to gain a seat on city council. 2,024 blank ballots were submitted, and 227 ballots were considered invalid.

As the Social Democrats are the largest party, they will ultimately choose with whom to lead the next ruling coalition. As such, impending mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson and Bright Future councilperson S. Björn Blöndal are exploring their options.

This could mean a three-party or even four-party coalition led by the Social Democrats. However, the Independence Party have also expressed a willingness to be a part of the new coalition, which would be a more solid two-party, nine-seat majority – the same number of seats the previous ruling coalition held.

When the new coalition will be formed still remains to be seen, although it could takes days or even weeks.

Where other muncipialities in Iceland are concerned, the Independence Party was the clear winner, becoming the largest party in every major municipality in the country apart from Reykjavík. The big surprise in the countryside was in Ísafjörður, where the 20-year rule of the Independence Party fell to Í-listinn, a coalition of left wing councilors.

In related news, outgoing mayor Jón Gnarr expressed concerns over the election results, telling RÚV: “I am worried about an unnatural nationalism and xenophobia. I am worried about it and I think it makes gains based on prejudice, misundertandings and misinformation. We have seen this movement become more powerful in Europe, with a great deal of fear and suspicious of foreigners, who are put into groups according to nationality and religion. This has shocked me and I find it tedious. I would find it awful if Icelanders went in the same direction. It would make me ashamed as an Icelander.”

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