Government Coalition Parties Polling at an All-Time Low

government coalition

The three government coalition parties are polling at a combined 32.6% according to a new survey by Maskína. The Independence Party is polling at 16.6%, its weakest showing of all time since Maskína began conducting polls, while the Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s party, the Left-Green Movement, is in danger of losing all its MPs from Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament.

The poll was conducted from January 10 to 15, around the time the volcanic eruption by Grindavík took place, but before Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson made remarks about asylum seeker policy which have been interpreted as a policy shift for his party, Heimildin reports. Alþingi elections are scheduled for next year.

Coalition tested

The Left-Green Movement is polling at 5.7%, which would make it the smallest of the parties that now have seats in Alþingi. The third coalition member, the Progressive Party, is polling at 10.3%, well below the 17.3% it received in the 2021 election. In the election, the three parties received a combined 54.4% of the vote, but according to the poll, less than a third of voters would choose one of the coalition parties.

Alþingi reconvened this Monday after a Christmas break and a number of issues have tested the strength of the coalition, including whaling, policy on asylum seekers, and the question of how the residents of Grindavík can best be served in the wake of an eruption that did significant infrastructural damage to the town.

Social democrats in the lead

The Centre Party, however, is rising in the polls, with 11.8% support. The Social Democratic Alliance remains the leader in the polls with 25.7% like it has been for more than a year. Since electing a new chairperson, Kristrún Frostadóttir, the party has soared above its 2021 election result, when it received only 9.9% support.

The Reform Party is polling at 11.7%, up from 8.3% in the election. Two of the opposition parties have lost support since the election. The Pirate Party is polling at 7.6%, while the People’s Party is at 6.5%.

Gallup: Support for Independence Party Hits Historic Low

bjarni benediktsson finance minister

The Independence Party has hit a historic low in the Gallup National Pulse survey, polling at only 18%, Vísir reports. Despite minor fluctuations in support between polls, overall backing for the government has decreased slightly from 33% to 32%.

Social Democratic Alliance enjoying increased support

The Independence Party is currently polling at 18% support in the latest National Pulse (Þjóðarpúls) survey by Gallup. This marks the lowest level of support the party has ever recorded in the over three-decade history of the National Pulse, Vísir reports

The Social Democratic Alliance remains the largest party with 28% support, followed by the Independence Party with 18.1% support. The Centre Party is now the third largest party in Iceland, polling at 9.7%, slightly ahead of the Progressive Party at 9.4%. As noted by Vísir, there has been little change in respondents’ answers between polls, although support for the government continues to decline, dropping from 33% in November to 32% in December.

Support for individual parties (with 2021 election results in brackets) is as follows:

  • Social Democratic Alliance: 28.4% (9.9%)
  • Independence Party: 18.1% (24.4%)
  • Centre Party: 9.7% (5.5%)
  • Progressive Party: 9.4% (17.3%)
  • Pirate Party: 9.1% (8.6%)
  • Reform Party: 8.8% (8.3%)
  • People’s Party: 6.8% (8.9%)
  • Left-Green Movement: 6.0% (12.6%)
  • Socialist Party: 3.6% (4.1%)

Left-Green Movement Polls Historically Low

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s Left-Green Movement would have trouble winning any seats in Parliament if an election were held today, according to the latest poll from Gallup. The party’s support has never measured as low in Gallup’s national pulse since it first entered Parliament in 1999. RÚV reported first.

Support for government dropping

The poll measured support fro the Left-Green movement at 5.1%, a drop from 6% one month ago. A party needs at least 5% of the votes to get a seat in Parliament. The other parties in the governing coalition saw minor changes, with the Independence Party dropping from 20.5% to 19.8% support and the Progressive Party’s support rising slightly from 7.4% to 8.6%. Support for the government dropped by one percentage point overall over the past month, now standing at 33 percent.

Political analysts have commented on an apparent rift between the three governing parties, revealed in the Icelandic government’s handling of a UN vote on Gaza, among other issues. The government has also faced criticism recently for new legislation that leads to the eviction of asylum seekers from state housing and the handling of the sale of Íslandsbanki, a state-owned bank.

The Social-Democratic Alliance maintained its lead in the poll, though its support dropped from 29.1% to 28.1%.

Support for Social Democratic Alliance Passes 30%

Social Democratic Alliance Kristrún Frostadóttir

The Social Democratic Alliance enjoys by far the most support of any party in Iceland according to the latest poll from Gallup. The party has passed the 30% mark in the monthly poll for the first time in 14 years. The next most popular party is the Independence Party, trailing behind the Social Democratic Alliance at 20.4%. RÚV reported first.

Support more than tripled

Support for the Social Democratic Alliance has more than tripled since October 2021 (just after the last parliamentary election) when it measured 9.8% support. The Social Democratic Alliance currently occupies six of the 63 seats in Iceland’s parliament, serving in the opposition. If an election were held today, the party could win as many as 19 seats, if voting were in line with the Gallup poll.

Independence Party support flags

The Independence Party’s support has been dropping fairly steadily since October 2022, when it measured 24.4%. The Independence Party is currently in the governing coalition alongside the Left-Green Movement and the Progressive Party, whose following measures at 5.7% and 8.1% respectively. The remaining parties in the poll all come in at between 9.6% (Pirate Party) and 3.9% (Socialist Party). The People’s Party enjoys 5.7% support, the Reform Party 7.9% support, and the Centre Party 8.6% support.

Rose to power following banking collapse

The Social Demcoratic Alliance is chaired by Kristrún Frostadóttir, who recently took over the position from Logi Már Einarsson. The party was formed in 2000 through the merger of four centre-left political parties. It emerged as the largest party following the snap 2009 election in the aftermath of the banking collapse in Iceland, forming a coalition government with the Left-Green Movement, Iceland’s first-ever majority left-wing government. The Social Democratic Alliance is the second-largest party in the Reykjavík City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson.

The Gallup poll was conducted between September 1 and October 1. The sample size was 11,005 with a participation rate of 48.5%.

Support for Government Never Lower

Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir

Iceland’s current government has never had less support among the public since it took office in November 2021, according to a new poll conducted by Gallup. The Social-Democratic Alliance, currently in the opposition, remains the strongest party in the country. RÚV reported first.

About 35% of those who took a stance stated that they support the government, which is 2.6% less support than in the last survey. This is the lowest level of support ever recorded for Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s government — and the lowest level of support recorded for a sitting government since July 2017. That government collapsed a month and a half later.

Only 6% would vote for Prime Minister’s party

Support for the two most popular parties, the Social-Democratic Alliance and the Independence Party, remains almost unchanged between months. Of those respondents who took a stance, 28.4% stated they would vote for the Social-Democratic Alliance if an election were held today, while 20.8% stated they would vote for the Independence Party. The Pirate Party followed in third place, with support around 10%.

The Progressive Party (one of three parties in the governing coalition along with the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement) lost the most support since the previous poll, clocking in at just under 9%. The Reform Party and the Centre Party both measured around 8% support.

Only 6% of respondents stated they would vote for the Left-Green Movement, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s party and the current coalition leader. The Socialist Party trailed behind with around 5% support. Around 10% of respondents stated they would submit a blank vote or would not vote at all.

Stormy times for government

Since the last such poll was conducted by Gallup, the government switched out the Minister of Justice, and implemented a controversial temporary whaling ban, both of which may have made an impact on the public’s support. The whaling ban in particular brought to light disagreements between the parties in the governing coalition, leading to speculation that the coalition would disband. Parliament is currently on summer recess so it is unlikely any such disbanding will occur in the near future. The Central Bank’s damning report on the sale of state-owned Íslandsbanki has also been published in this period and may have had a marked impact on the public perception of the government.

The poll was conducted between June 1 and July 2, the total sample was over 11,300 people of which almost half responded.

Parliamentary Resolution Reignites EU Membership Debate

Alþingi Icelandic parliament

A parliamentary resolution that proposes a referendum be held to determine whether Iceland should continue membership negotiations with the European Union has the full support of every MP in the Social Democratic Alliance, Reform Party, and Pirate Party, but has been met with staunch opposition from members of the People’s Party, RÚV reports.

See Also: Foreign Minister: Iceland’s EU Membership Off the Table (March 2015)

On July 16, 2009, Alþingi passed a parliamentary resolution instructing the government to submit an application for Iceland’s membership in the EU, after which it was supposed to hold a referendum on the resulting membership agreement. In March 2015, however, then-Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson sent a letter to the European Union stating that Iceland was no longer interested in membership.

See Also: Icelandic Government’s Letter to EU Gets a Reply (April 2015)

Proponents of the current resolution say the 2009 resolution still stands and should be honoured. They submitted their resolution, proposing a referendum on continued EU membership negotiations, to Alþingi on Thursday. The undersigning MPs want a vote to be held on the issue before the end of 2023.

In the event of such a referendum, Icelandic voters would be asked to vote yes or no on the following question: “Do you want Iceland to pick up negotiations with the European Union with the goal of developing a membership agreement that would be submitted to the nation for approval or rejection?”

Says number of Icelanders opposed to EU membership has only grown since Brexit

People’s Party chair Guðmundur Ingi Kristinsson pushed back against the resolution immediately, saying that the majority of the nation does not want Iceland to join the EU. He said that Iceland’s anti-EU contingent has only grown in the wake of Brexit.

Within days of the new resolution’s submission, the People’s Party had submitted a resolution of their own, namely that Iceland should withdraw its application for membership to the EU entirely. The proponents of the counter-resolution are all People’s Party MPs. They have submitted the same resolution for the last three legislative sessions.

List of Candidates in Reykjavík Elections Becoming Clearer

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The list of candidates running for municipal elections in Reykjavík this spring is gradually becoming clearer. Women are set to form the majority of party leaders.

Women likely to form a majority

With two and a half months until municipal elections – and just over a month until the nomination deadline – it looks as if a minimum of nine candidates will be vying for the mayoral seat in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. The Social Democratic Alliance and the Pirate Party have already introduced their list of candidates, with Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson leading the former party and councillor Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir chairing the latter.

Two primary elections will be held in Reykjavík next week when the Left-Green Movement and the Reform Party will decide on their list of candidates. Three women will be vying for first place for the Left-Greens: meteorologist Elín Björk Jónasdóttir, councilwoman Líf Magneudóttir, and substitute city councillor Elín Oddný Sigurðardóttir. Þórdís Jóna Sigurðardóttir and Þórdís Lóa Þórhallsdóttir will hope to lead the Reform Party

Former anchorman to lead the Progressives?

The Progressive Party will be holding a constituency congress in Reykjavík on March 10 to introduce its list of candidates. It is widely believed that former RÚV anchor and journalist Einar Þorsteinsson will be leading the party. Handballer Björgvin Páll Gústavsson has announced that he will not be seeking first place.

Primary elections for the Independence Party in Reykjavík will be held on March 18 and 19. A new leader will be elected given that Eyþór Laxdal Arnalds has decided to step aside. Substitute councilwoman Ragnhildur Alda María Vilhjálmsdóttir will be running against councilwoman Hildur Björnsdóttir for chair.

The Centre Party will hold primary elections on March 26, where members will vote on its top three candidates. Councilwoman Vigdís Hauksdóttir will once again be running for chair.

The People’s Party has not announced when it will reveal its list of candidates. It will not hold primary elections, and councilwoman Kolbrún Baldursdóttir intends to hold onto first place. The same holds for the Socialist Party, where councilwoman Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir will lead the party.

This means that women will be leading seven out of the nine parties running in the municipal elections.

(Municipal elections will be held across the country on May 14, 2022. Both citizens of Iceland, as well as residents of Iceland who have lived in the country for five years or longer, can vote in municipal elections.)

Police Investigate Possible Shots Fired at Mayor’s Car and Party Office

iceland refugees

Capital Area Police are investigating a case concerning damage inflicted on the Reykjavík mayor’s car. The case is “being taken very seriously,” according to a press release police sent to media. Police suspect the damage was caused by a firearm, and the perpetrator was also responsible for bullet holes discovered at the offices of the Social-Democratic Alliance last week (the mayor’s political party).

The car that was damaged was Mayor Dagur B. Eggertson’s family car. RÚV reports that police monitored the mayor’s home last weekend, and reporters suspect the damage to the car was the reason. Sources told media outlet Kjarninn that bullets were found in the mayor’s car, but police refused to confirm the information to Kjarninn reporters.