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Photo: Golli. The opening of Iceland’s Parliament in 2017.

13 Legal Complaints Filed with Parliament Over the Elections

Parliament has now published the 13 legal complaints that have been filed since the elections took place on September 25, RÚV reports. Most of the complaints originate from candidates who lost their seats due to a recount in the northwest constituency.

Shortcomings in the northwest

On Sunday, September 26, Iceland briefly celebrated a female-majority parliament – before a recount redistributed five of the parliament’s 63 seats and thereby invalidated what would also have been a landmark election in Europe.

Two days after the recount, two candidates filed charges against election proceedings in the northwest constituency on the basis that the election supervision committee had failed to seal the votes after it had completed the initial count. Furthermore, the two candidates complained that the committee had left the ballots unattended at Hotel Borgarnes after election staff went home.

The youngest parliamentarian … almost

As reported by RÚV this morning, parliament has published the now thirteen legal complaints that it has received regarding the elections. Five have been submitted by candidates who lost their seats due to the recount in the northwest constituency: Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir, Karl Gauti Hjaltason, Guðmundur Gunnarsson, Hólmfríður Árnadóttir, and Lenya Rún Taha Karim – the latter of whom would have become the youngest parliamentarian in history at the age of 21 (22 days younger than Jóhanna María Sigmundsdóttir). The Chairman of the Pirate Party’s district council in the northwest, Magnús Davíð Norðdahl, also brought charges to parliament against the legitimacy of the election.

Besides the abovementioned charges, three residents of the northwest constituency – Sveinn Flóki Guðmundsson, Ólafur Jónsson, and Sigurður Hreinn Sigurðsson – also filed legal complaints, along with lawyer Katrín Oddsdóttir and economist Þorvaldur Gylfason. In his complaint, Þorvaldur argues that Ingi Tryggvason, Chairman of the Head Election Supervision Committee in the northwest constituency, had admitted to violating voting laws in statements to the media. Katrín Oddsdóttir maintains that the shortcomings of the election process in the northwest violated the citizenry’s right to free elections.

Rúnar Björn Hererra Þorkelsson, head of the NPA Centre (a support organisation for the disabled) also filed a complaint based, on the one hand, on the shortcomings of the count in the northwest and, on the other hand, on the fact that he, as a disabled person, had been prevented from casting a secret ballot in the Reykjavík south constituency.

Preparatory commission meets

A preparatory commission tasked with investigating the election held an open meeting earlier today. Trausti Fannar Valsson, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Iceland, and Ragnhildur Helgadóttir, President of the University of Reykjavík, were invited as guests.

As noted by RÚV, Trausti Fannar told the commission that he could find no legal basis for banning the recount of votes during parliamentary elections but that the issue was whether or not laws had been violated during the recount. Ragnhildur stated that the decision rested with parliament: “There was a strong, democratic rationale for the clause being included in the Constitution at the time.”

It remains unclear when the preparatory commission will conclude its investigation.

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