Two politicians will file charges against election proceedings in the northwest constituency during last Saturday’s Parliamentary election, RÚV reports. Votes in the constituency were not sealed after the initial count as required by law and were left at Hotel Borgarnes after election staff went home. Other breaches of regulation occurred during the recount, which redistributed five of the Parliament’s 63 seats and invalidated what would have been Europe’s first female-majority Parliament.
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 original count also had female candidates in 33 of 63 seats, which would have been Europe’s first female-majority Parliament. Female MPs were reduced to 30 in the recount, meaning women occupy 48% of the total seats, still a European record.
Demands revote in northwest constituency
Magnús Davíð Norðdahl, Pirate Party district chairman in the northwest constituency, told RÚV he plans to file an official charge against the election proceedings in the constituency. Magnús’ fellow party member Lenya Run Taha Karim, who would have been Iceland’s youngest-ever MP, was ousted from Parliament following the recount. Magnús says he will also file charges with the police due to the election proceedings in the constituency.
Magnús asserts there were serious flaws in the counting of votes in the northwest. Ballots were not sealed after the end of the first count, as required by law, but were left in a locked room at Hotel Borgarnes after counters went home. He also points out that the recount began without Pirate Party candidates being notified, and the chairman of the electoral commission did not approve a request to delay the recount until candidates arrived at the scene.
The recount resulted in a different number of blank and spoiled ballots as well as the number of votes for individual candidates. “Such working methods in the democratic process of elections and counting are completely unacceptable,” Magnús stated. He believes the only remedy is to redo voting in the constituency.
Wonders if votes were tampered with
Centre Party politician Karl Gauti Hjaltason, who was ousted by the recount for his fellow party member Bergþór Ólason, has also stated he will file charges with police against the election proceedings in the northwest constituency. “What happened there, how was this decision made? Where were the ballots while the election supervision committee was away? Did anyone have access to them. Was it possible that someone could have reached them? The police are the best-positioned to bring this to light in a neutral way,” Karl Gauti told RÚV. If there is any evidence votes could have been tampered with, the only appropriate measure would be a revote, he added.