Yesterday, parliament confirmed the election certificates (i.e. kjörbréf) of all MPs and substitute MPs. A proposal to approve all election certificates except those from the northwest constituency was vetoed, as was a bid to invalidate certificates from the entire country.
Two months later …
After a recount redistributed five of parliament’s 63 seats following elections on September 25, several candidates filed charges against election proceedings in the northwest constituency. Plaintiffs argued that the election supervision committee had failed to seal the votes after it had completed its initial count and had left them unattended.
A preparatory Credentials Committee was subsequently established (later succeeded by the actual Credentials Committee after parliament reconvened following a lengthy hiatus) to investigate these claims. Following weeks of discussions and a field trip to Hotel Borgarnes, the committee submitted its findings to parliament this week.
Three proposals vetoed
Having reviewed the committee’s report, parliament voted on several proposals yesterday.
Only six MPs voted to approve Björn Leví Gunnarsson’s proposal that the results of the parliamentary election be nullified and no election certificates confirmed. Fifty-three MPs voted against the proposal. Likewise, Indriði Ingi Stefánsson’s proposal that election certificates in the northwest constituency be confirmed according to the initial count was vetoed. Fifty-five decided against the proposal, and four abstained.
Svandís Svavarsdóttir and Þórunn Sveinbjarnadóttir’s proposal to confirm all election certificates excluding the northwest constituency was vetoed. Forty-two MPs voted against the proposal, sixteen for, and four abstained. The Left-Green Movement was the only party to be split in its vote. Three MPs from the Left-Green Movement voted in favour of the proposal: Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, and Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir. Two Left-Green MPs abstained: Jódís Skúladóttir and Orri Páll Jóhannsson.
In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Svandís Svavarsdóttir remarked that while each MP would have to make up their mind regarding the election certificates, it was her belief that proving that no one had tampered with the ballots was impossible.
A clear majority for the confirmation of all certificates
In the end, parliament voted confirmed the election certificates of all MPs and substitute MPs. Forty-two MPs voted to approve, while sixteen abstained from voting. MPs from the Progressive and Independent Parties voted in unison to approve all election certificates.
PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Chairperson of the Left-Green Movement stated that even though there were undoubted shortcomings in the securing of ballots in the northwest constituency, it was unlikely that these shortcomings had impacted the vote. She thus voted to approve all election certificates.
It is thus clear which MPs will serve during this election period.
A “predictable disappointment”
In an interview with Mbl.is yesterday, Lenya Rún Taha Karim of the Pirate Party stated that the result was “distressing” and a “predictable disappointment.” Lenya would have become the youngest MP in Iceland’s history if the original count in the northwest constituency would have been allowed to stand. She will now serve as a substitute MP.
“We’ve now got a legislature that decided to approve an infringement to the law and has laid its blessing upon a result that cannot be proven right. This is much bigger than a politician having a seat in parliament; it’s about our trust in the democratic process, which, in this case, cannot be trusted.”
After the vote, parliament took a fifteen-minute intermission before new MPs signed oaths to uphold the constitution.