Polls are now open in Iceland, and citizens will be casting their ballots for parliament in the midst of scandals that have drawn international attention.
Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson (pictured above) was amongst the Icelanders who voted today, and the reason why Icelanders are voting a year to the day from previous elections is largely because of him.
The revelations that Bjarni’s father had signed a letter of recommendations for a convicted paedophile to have his civil standing restored, and that Bjarni had deliberately kept this information from the press and the public, ultimately led to the dissolution of the government. Rather than attempt to form a new coalition government, parliament opted to hold snap elections.
This condensed election season has been decidedly fierce. Local newspaper Stundin was slapped with an injunction last week, and thereby prevented from reporting on Bjarni’s financial activities shortly before the 2008 crash. The right wing press has been diligent in paying for boosted attack articles on social media.
Final polling has shown great uncertainty regarding who will lead Iceland’s next government. While there has been considerable speculation that the Left-Greens will win the mandate to form the next coalition, current polling shows that no two-party coalitions are possible, and any left wing coalition could require at least three parties, with the support of a possible fourth centrist party. Meanwhile, a right wing coalition of three parties could prove more feasible, but there is considerable doubt regarding whether the Independence Party, from which Bjarni hails, will be given the mandate by the President, considering the scandals which have dogged them.
Grapevine will be livetweeting the results as they come in, using the hashtag #GVelections17, and we will also be liveblogging the latest numbers.