Advertisement
Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Iceland Elects First Female Majority Parliament

The milestone for women comes despite a poor outcome for parties on the left, where female candidates are more often frontrunners.

Iceland Elects First Female Majority Parliament
Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir speaks to media after voting. | AP
Iceland Elects First Female Majority Parliament
outlookindia.com
2021-09-26T19:15:09+05:30

Iceland has elected a female-majority parliament, a landmark for gender equality in the North Atlantic island nation, in a vote that saw centrist parties make the biggest gains.

After all votes were counted Sunday, female candidates held 33 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althing. The three parties in the outgoing coalition government led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir won a total of 37 seats in Saturday's vote, two more than in the last election, and appeared likely to continue in power.

The milestone for women comes despite a poor outcome for parties on the left, where female candidates are more often frontrunners.

Politics professor Silja Bara Omarsdottir said the gender quotas implemented by left-leaning parties for the past decade had managed to create a new norm across Iceland's political spectrum.

“It is no longer acceptable to ignore gender equality when selecting candidates,” she said.

Opinion polls had suggested a victory for left-leaning parties in the unpredictable election, which saw 10 parties competing for seats. But the centre-right Independence Party took the largest share of votes, winning 16 seats, seven of them held by women. The centrist Progressive Party celebrated the biggest gain, winning 13 seats, five more than last time.

Before the election, the two parties formed Iceland's three-party coalition government, together with Jakobsdottir's Left Green Party. Her party lost several seats, but kept eight, outscoring poll predictions.

The three ruling parties haven't announced whether they will work together for another term, but given the strong support from voters it appears likely. It will take days, if not weeks, for a new government to be formed and announced.

Climate change had ranked high on the election agenda in Iceland, a glacier-studded volcanic island nation of about 350,000 people in the North Atlantic. An exceptionally warm summer by Icelandic standards — with 59 days of temperatures above 20 C (68 F) — and shrinking glaciers have helped drive global warming up the political agenda.

But that didn't appear to have translated into increased support for any of the four left-leaning parties that campaigned to cut carbon emissions by more than Iceland is committed to under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Among incoming members of parliament are the oldest and youngest lawmakers ever to take a seat in Iceland: 72-year-old burger joint owner Tomas Tomasson and 21-year-old law student Lenya Run Karim, a daughter of Kurdish immigrants who is from the anti-establishment Pirate Party.

“I want to improve Iceland's treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers,” she told The Associated Press, vowing to speak up for young people at parliament. “Our ideas need to be heard more.” (AP)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Kashmir: Tosa Maidan Blast Victims Still Await Compensation

Kashmir: Tosa Maidan Blast Victims Still Await Compensation

While the Army and Airforce vacated the Tosa Maidan meadow as a firing range back in 2014, the victims of the deadly explosions are yet to receive their compensation.

Church In India Cosying Up To BJP To Protect Its Interests

Church In India Cosying Up To BJP To Protect Its Interests

What has led to this change of heart over the past few years for the Church, long seen to be anathemic to the Sangh Parivar?

2nd Test: Ravi Ashwin's 3/27 Puts India On Top At Day 3 Stumps

2nd Test: Ravi Ashwin's 3/27 Puts India On Top At Day 3 Stumps

At the end of Day 3, New Zealand are struggling at 140/5 with 400 more runs to win the second Test in Mumbai. Daryl Mitchell scored a fighting 60. Catch the IND vs NZ highlights here.

World Soil Day 2021: Why Is Soil Conservation Important?

World Soil Day 2021: Why Is Soil Conservation Important?

World Soil Day was first celebrated on December 5th 2014, 7 years ago. This year's theme is, 'Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity'.

Advertisement