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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Iceland election: Women lawmakers outnumber men for first time

Iceland has become the first European country where women make up more than half of all lawmakers. The ruling coalition has also secured enough votes to stay in power.

By: Deutsche Welle | Reykjavik |
Updated: September 28, 2021 9:17:24 am
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir's government gave Iceland's 360,000 people political stability for four years. (AP)

For the first time in Icelandic and European politics, there are now more women lawmakers than men in parliament, according to final election results released on Sunday. Some 33 women were voted into the 63-seat parliament, Icelandic public broadcaster RUV confirmed.

The only other European country to come close is Sweden with 47 per cent of women lawmakers, according to data from the World Bank.

Iceland now joins the shortlist of countries where women outnumber men in parliament — including Rwanda, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.

What were the election results?

Iceland’s ruling coalition retained its majority in Saturday’s elections even as Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s party suffered losses.

It remains to be seen whether the three-party coalition that governed the island nation for the past four years will stick together. They said before the election that they would enter negotiations if they held on to their majority.

With all votes counted, Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement, the agrarian centre-right Progressive Party, and the conservative Independence Party held 37 of the 63 seats in parliament.

Four years of stability

Jakobsdottir led the first government that completed a full term after a decade of crises.

The island nation held elections five times between 2007 and 2017 due to a series of scandals and deepening mistrust of politicians.

While the prime minister herself remains popular, her party has been losing support.

Eight parties are set to enter Iceland’s 1,100-year-old parliament, the Althing, giving the parties numerous other coalition options.

Jakobsdottir’s future as PM uncertain

The prime minister’s Left-Green Movement lost three seats in parliament from the 11 it currently held.

“We will have to see how the governmental parties are doing together and how we are doing,” Jakobsdottir told news agency AFP.

The Independence Party is set to remain the largest party with 16 seats, holding onto the same number as it had before.

Its leader and the country’s current finance minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, is eyeing the prime minister’s post.

“These numbers are good, (it’s a) good start to the evening,” he told public broadcaster RUV.

The centre-right Progressives made the biggest gains and becoming the second-largest party in parliament, winning 13 seats, a big jump from its previous tally of 8.

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