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

Parliament to Decide Whether Revote is Necessary

The National Electoral Commission of Iceland has not received confirmation from the Northwest constituency’s election supervision committee that the handling of ballots had been satisfactory, RÚV reports. A recount of votes in the constituency has been criticised for not following regulations, leading some to call for a revote. According to the constitution, it is Iceland’s newly-elected Parliament that must rule on whether the election results stand.

Read More: Two Politicians Call for Revote After Recount Shuffles MPs

Iceland held a Parliamentary election last Saturday, September 25. Election officials in the northwest constituency decided to do a recount of votes on Sunday as the ballot numbers were very close between MPs. The recount did not change the distribution of seats between parties, but ousted one MP each from the Social-Democratic Alliance, Left-Green Movement, Reform Party, Pirate Party, and Centre Party for another of their fellow-party members.

The results of the constituency’s recount differed greatly from that of the initial count, resulting in a different number of blank and spoiled ballots as well as differences in the number of votes for individual candidates. Ballots in the region were not sealed after the initial count and were left unattended (though in a locked room), and candidates were not informed before the recount began: both breaches of regulation. This has caused some to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election and even call for a revote in the constituency.

Ball in Parliament’s court

Kristín Edwald, the director of the National Electoral Commission, stated that the Commission had requested confirmation from the northwest constituency that the ballots had been handled in a satisfactory manner. That confirmation has not been received, and the ball is now in the Parliament’s court to decide whether the election results will stand. Kristín referred to the 46th article of the constitution, which stipulates that the Alþingi itself decides whether members of parliament have been elected according to law.

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