Iceland’s snap parliamentary election yesterday ended inconclusively, with losses for the ruling Independence Party and the wipeout of its previous junior coalition partner, but without the expected gains for the Left-Green Movement that opinion polls had projected.
The conservatives of Independence (Sjalfstaedisflokkur), effectively forced into the country’s second election in a year, lost nearly four percentage points from their vote and five of their 21 seats. Their centre-right coalition with Vidreisn (the ‘Reform’ or ‘Restoration’ party) and Bjort framtid (Bright Future) came crashing to an end as the former lost one third of its votes and 3 of its 7 seats, while the latter is now out of the Althing altogether.
The Left-Green Movement (Vinstri-Graen) failed to match campaign opinion polls, which, while ranging wildly between 17 and 30 per cent, had generally foreseen major gains. Instead it was the Social Democrats of Samfylkingin who were the big winners, doubling their vote. Meanwhile previously disgraced former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson made a spectacular return to the political stage with his new Centre Party (Midflokkur) securing 10.9 per cent and seven seats. Another new party, Flokkur folksins, broke through into the Reykjavik parliament with 6.9 per cent of the vote.
For the anti-establishment Pirates (Piratar), who briefly surged to the top of the opinion polls in spring 2016, the result was disappointing as they slipped from 14.5 to 9.2 per cent of the vote. Finally the Progressives (Framsoknarflokkur), the former party of Gunnlaugsson, effectively stood still by obtaining 10.7 per cent.
Icelandic voters showed little fatigue in this third election in four and a half years, with 81.2 per cent of them turning out. Coalition talks should keep them interested with numerous possibilities available: as the largest party, Independence holds just 16 of the 63 parliamentary seats.
ICELAND 28 October 2017
Votes for Althing, per cent and absolute
(change on 2016 election in brackets):
Sjalfstaedisflokkur (Independence Party) 25.2 (-3.8) or 49,543
Vinstri-Graen (Left Green Movement) 16.9 (+1.0) or 33,155
Samfylkingin (Social Democratic Alliance) 12.1 (+6.4) or 23, 652
Midflokkur (Centre Party) 10.9 (n/a) or 21,335
Framsoknarflokkur (Progressive Party) 10.7 (-0.8) or 21,016
Piratar (Pirate Party) 9.2 (-5.3) or 18,051
Flokkur folksins (People’s Party) 6.9 (+3.4) or 13,502
Vidreisn (Reform Party) 6.7 (-3.8) or 13,122
Bjort framtid (Bright Future) 1.2 (-6.0) or 2,394
Alpydufylkingin (People’s Front of Iceland) 0.2 (-0.1) or 375
Dogun (Dawn) 0.1 (-1.6) or 101
Eligible voters 248,502
Blank votes 4,813
Invalid votes 728
Turnout: 81.2% (2016: 79.2%)
Seat allocations in Althing
Sjalfstaedisflokkur (Independence Party) 16 (-5)
Vinstri-Graen (Left Green Movement) 11 (+1)
Framsoknarflokkur (Progressive Party) 8 (nc)
Samfylkingin (Social Democratic Alliance) 7 (+4)
Midflokkur (Centre Party) 7 (+7)
Piratar (Pirate Party) 6 (-4)
Flokkur folksins (People’s Party) 4 (+4)
Vidreisn (Reform Party) 4 (-3)
Bjort framtid (Bright Future) 0 (-4)
Alpydufylkingin (People’s Front of Iceland) 0 (nc)
Dogun (Dawn) 0 (nc)
Total seats 63 (previously 63)
Sources: Morgunbladid/Iceland Monitor, RUV
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