Icelanders go to the polls as the country’s government hangs on a thread.
Despite bringing four years of calm after a decade of crises, Iceland’s unique left-right coalition may lose its majority in Saturday’s election.
Because the political environment is more divided than ever, creating a new alliance may be more difficult than in the past.
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, whose Left-Green Movement had never headed a government before, is seeking re-election, but a big number of parties could stymie her efforts.
According to polls, a record nine out of ten parties are projected to win seats in Iceland’s approximately 1,100-year-old parliament, the Althing.
As a result, predicting which parties will form a coalition is very difficult.
On the day of the election, Thorsteinn Thorvaldsson, a 54-year-old voter, told AFP, “It’s tough for politicians, but I think it’s better for democracy to have everyone at the table.”
“When I was younger, there were just four parties; now there are ten.” But it’s intriguing,” he added.
The outgoing coalition is a mix of the conservative Independence Party, the center-right Progressive Party, and the Left-Green Movement, with 33 of the 63 seats.
Some polls predict that the existing coalition will win a razor-thin majority, while others predict that it will fail.
In an interview with AFP this week, Prime Minister Jakobsdottir said, “Because there are so many parties, I think there will be a lot of different options to build a government.”
While she is well-liked, her party is polling at approximately 10% to 12% and is in danger of losing numerous seats.
Jakobsdottir has implemented a progressive income tax system, raised the social housing budget, and extended parental leave for both parents throughout her four-year mandate.
She’s also been praised for how she handled the Covid disaster, which resulted in only 33 deaths in a population of 370,000 people.
However, in order to keep her coalition together, she has had to make compromises, including a commitment to construct a national park in central Iceland, which is home to 32 active volcanoes and 400 glaciers.
This is only the second time since 2008 that a government on the huge island has completed its four-year term.
From 2007 to 2017, Icelanders went to the polls five times due to widespread popular distrust of politicians as a result of recurring scandals.
The Independence Party, which has roughly 20-24 percent of the vote in polls, is also in danger of losing seats, but is projected to remain the largest political party. Brief News from Washington Newsday.