Historic Election in Iceland Skip to content

Historic Election in Iceland

The parliamentary election in Iceland on Saturday was historic in many senses. Never before has a party suffered a more significant loss than the Social Democratic Alliance, the turnout has never been as poor and never before have so many voters opted for parties that didn’t make it to parliament.

althingishus-bakhlid_jola_15Alþingi, the parliament.

The Social Democratic Alliance lost 56.7 percent of its support compared to the 2009 election, now standing at 12.9 percent, which is the biggest defeat of a party in the history of Icelandic politics, Fréttablaðið reports.

Professor in political science Grétar Þór Eyþórsson stated this can be explained by struggles within the government and that it made too many promises it couldn’t keep.

Even though the Independence Party became the country’s largest after the election, backed by 26.7 percent of the electorate, it is the second poorest result in the party’s history, only adding 2.8 percent to its support after the 2009 election.

The Progressive Party, on the other hand, boasts its biggest victory since 1979 with 24.4 percent, adding 9.6 percent to the outcome of the 2009 election.

Grétar told Fréttablaðið that the surge in support for the party can be explained by the verdict of the Icesave case.

Turnout was 81.4 percent and has never been poorer in a parliamentary election in the history of the Republic of Iceland, Morgunblaðið reports.

In 1946, the first election after Iceland became independent from Denmark in 1944, the turnout was 87.4 percent. It was highest in 1956 at 92.1 percent. The turnout has usually been around 90 percent. In the last election, in 2009, the turnout was 85.1 percent.

Grétar told Fréttablaðið that the poor turnout on Saturday is not surprising as the public’s faith in politics has been dwindling in recent years.

In the election, 12 percent of votes went to parties that didn’t earn a seat in parliament and 2.2 percent of ballots were empty.


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