Iceland: with 47.6% of seats held by women in parliament, the country holds the European record

the essential The island could have been the first country on the continent to elect a predominantly female assembly. But after rectification of the votes, they end up with 47, 6% of the seats in parliament. A little less than half and yet a record in Europe.

The Icelandic parliament, the first to show a majority of women? This is the news that made the rounds of social networks on Sunday. But a recount came to rewrite this page of history by reducing the female share to 37, 6%. Of the 63 seats of the Althingi, the Millennium Icelandic Parliament, 24 will be occupied by women, against 33 before this recount.

This proportion remains the new European record, with Sweden occupying the first place so far with 37% of MEPs, according to the data compiled by the World Bank.


Following this new count which changed some votes in one of the six constituencies of the country, due to the very complex Icelandic electoral system, three women lost the seat promised to them, Ingi Tryggvason, chairman of the local electoral commission, told AFP. “These few difference votes cause these big upheavals”, he noted.

No one had asked for it, but “we decided to recount because the result was so close, “added the election official for the North West constituency.


There is still some uncertainty, however, because a possible recount in another constituency in the south of the country could again have consequences. Before this dramatic turn of events, officials and ordinary citizens congratulated each other on seeing little Iceland (85 inhabitants) enter into European political history. No country in Europe has ever crossed the symbolic bar of 50% of women in a Parliament. “I am 85 years old, I have waited all my life for women to be in the majority (…), and I am really very happy”, had confided to AFP Erdna, a resident of Reykjavik.

No law of quota of women for legislative in Iceland


If several parties reserve for themselves a minimum proportion of women among their candidates, no law imposes a quota of women for legislative elections in Iceland. The Nordic country has consistently been at the forefront of feminism and has been in the lead for 000 consecutive years of ranking of the World Economic Forum in terms of gender equality.

“This is another example of the progress we have made on the road to full gender equality (…) I wish this Parliament great success, “Icelandic Head of State Gudni Johannesson told AFP.


Behind this symbol, the legislative elections organized on Saturday were marked by the weakened position of Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, despite the strengthening of the government coalition in power. His ecologist left party, the Left-Green movement lost three seats and passed with 000, 6% voices behind his two current right-wing allies.


The center-right is the big election winner


The big winner is the Progress Party (center-right), which wins 13 seats, five more than in the last election of 2017, with 17, 3% of the votes. The jubilation reigned in the night at the HQ of the party “back to the forefront of the political scene”, launched under the vivas its leader Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, who finds himself in position of Prime Minister.

But the conservative party of former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson remained the leading party in Iceland with 17, 4% of the vote, thus keeping its contingent of 13 seats when the polls predicted a decline .

With a total of 37 seats, the three allied parties confirm therefore in total their majority, but the right is in a position of strength. With the option of finding another third partner that is closer ideologically, for example the centrist parties of the Reform (five seats) or the Center (three deputies).

Even if the negotiations are traditionally long, Iceland is moving away from a scenario of political blockage that the polls feared.


Never since the spectacular bankruptcy of Icelandic banks in 2008 and the serious crisis that followed , an outgoing Icelandic government had not retained its majority. We must go back to 2003 to find a precedent.

Discussions must take place between the three leaders parties and the question of the future tenant of Stjornarradid, the modest white house where Icelandic heads of government sit, will necessarily arise, according to analysts.

Benediktsson Prime Minister? “I am not asking for this,” the leader of the conservatives assured RUV on public television, according to whom “we must strive to be in search of solutions.”

After a decade of crises, scandals and repeated elections, the current coalition marked the return of political stability in Iceland.

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