According to a presidential letter published yesterday, the formal dissolution of Parliament will occur on September 25 and elections will be held on the same day. Pre-election voting begins today.
Pre-election voting stations to open August 23
In a letter to Parliament published yesterday, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson announced that – as per the Prime Minister’s proposal – Parliament will be dissolved on September 25 and elections will take place on the same day.
In accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act to the Althing, which mandates that pre-election voting “shall commence as soon as possible after the election date has been advertised but not earlier than eight weeks before election day,” early voting began this morning at the offices of the District Commissioner of Greater Reykjavík.
Speaking to Iceland Review, a service representative with the District Commissioner confirmed that early voting will take place at DC offices today and next week, that is, until pre-election voting stations are opened in the Kringlan and Smáralind shopping malls on August 23. The District Commissioners offices are located in Hlíðasmári in Kópavogur and are open between 8.20 am and 3 pm on weekdays (the offices close at 2 pm on Fridays).
COVID-19 regulations to be followed
In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Sigríður Kristinsdóttir, District Commissioner of Greater Reykjavík, stated that COVID-19 regulations will apply at voting stations. Masks will be mandatory and social-distancing rules will apply. All voting equipment will be disinfected after use.
Voting applications for citizens who are self-isolating or in quarantine may be submitted five days before the day of the election.
The key issues of this year’s general elections include the repayment of debts accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic, resolving the difficulty of funding nursing homes, ensuring the operational viability of the healthcare system (which has seen increasingly long waiting lists), whether or not to formally adopt a new constitution (as per a 2012 referendum in which a majority voted to adopt a new constitution based on a draft by the Constitutional Council in 2011), and tackling the global threat of climate change.
Earlier this year, 13 political parties registered for the upcoming elections, though a few of the smaller ones may not run. These parties include the so-called “Party of Four” (referring to the country’s four most established parties): the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, the Left-Green Party, and the Social Democratic Alliance. The two other “big” parties, the Pirate Party and the Reform Party, are also registered, along with a handful of smaller parties, including the Centre Party, the Socialist Party, and the People’s Party. Bright Future, Dawn, and the People’s Front of Iceland have all announced that they will not be running in this election.