Monday, 27 April 2009

Left-wing election victory in Iceland

After seven decades of right-wing rule, the people of Iceland have voted in a left-wing majority government.
The conservative Independence Party, which has been in government for eighteen years, has been justly blamed for the collapse of Iceland's economy last year. Having allowed the banking sector to grow to ten times the size of the country's BNP, the state could not possibly save the banks when they collapsed, throwing Iceland into a deep financial crisis.
After widespread demonstrations Geir Haarde's conservative government resigned in January and was replaced by a left-wing minority government formed by the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement, led by interim Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir.
In this weekend's general election the Social Democratic Alliance won 28.8 % of the votes and 20 seats in Parliament, up by 2 from the previous election, and the Left-Green Movement 20.9 % and 14 seats (+5). The Independence Party received 22.9 % and 16 seats (-9). This gives the left-wing coalition a majority of 34 out of 63 seats in Parliament.
The election results also mean that there will be 43 % women in Parliament, which is a historic high for Iceland. Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is also the country's first female Prime Minister, although Iceland had a female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, in the years 1980-1996.
Partipication in the election was 85 %.

Articles in Klassekampen and The Guardian:

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