From Iceland — Everyone In The Running For Small Icelandic Regional Councils

Everyone In The Running For Small Icelandic Regional Councils

Published May 7, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Due to no parties officially throwing their hats in the ring, every eligible resident in several sparsely-populated northwest Iceland regions are now running for regional council, each resident a party unto themselves.

According to an announcement posted on the official page for the region of Strandabyggð, no political parties submitted an official list of candidates for the May 26 municipal elections before the deadline. As such, almost everyone in the regional is now in the running.

Specifically, all voter-eligible residents of Strandabyggð under the age of 65 are now officially candidates as “independent candidates”, effectively making each one of them political parties unto themselves. In Strandabyggð, this is anywhere from 350 to 400 people. The only qualifying people who will be excluded from the running are those who have been on the regional council before and expressly asked to be excluded; at the time of this writing, that is only two people: Jóhann Lárus Jónsson and Birna Richardsdóttir.

The elections procedures themselves are derived from Articles 18 and 19 of Iceland’s Law on Municipal Elections. In fact, Strandabyggð is not alone in this situation. Grapevine has also confirmed that, at the very least, Árneshreppur, Dalabyggð, Reykhólar and other regions in the area are going to be holding their regional elections in the same fashion.

While this occurrence is fairly common for sparsely-populated regions in the countryside, this marks a first for Strandabyggð.

Although everyone who legally qualifies is in the running, Strandabyggð mayor Andrea Kristín Jónsdóttir (who also wrote the announcement for Strandabyggð), told us that the general understanding is that people will only vote for those individuals who have expressed a desire to be on the regional council.

“I think this type of arrangement wouldn’t work in Reykjavík, where you need to have [political party] lists,” she told us. “But it’s well-suited for smaller regions like ours, because everyone knows each other.”

Municipal elections will be held on May 26.

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