Iceland elected Europe’s first female-majority legislature in a poll where the centrist ruling coalition increased its majority after guiding the nation through the pandemic.
Some 33 of the 63 seats, or 52%, in the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, were won by women in Saturday’s poll.
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s bloc, which unites three parties from left to right, has increased its representation from two to 37 in total, according to the public broadcaster RUV.
The predictions failed to conclude that Jakobsdottir’s coalition would struggle to cope with calls from the left for increased health spending and concerns about climate change in the North Atlantic island nation.
Instead, the group gained new support from voters after pushing Iceland’s tourism-dependent economy through a pandemic-induced crisis.
Ruling parties have signaled that the current pattern is likely to continue, although they did not make clear commitments in their first post-election comments.
“We all said before the elections that if the government had a majority it would be normal to have talks,” Jakobsdottir said on RUV on Sunday. “Nothing has changed there.”
Finance Minister and former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, who heads the Conservative Independence Party, said he would not run for prime minister even as his party maintained the largest presence in parliament.
The Land of Fire and Ice, which provided many breathtaking backdrops for “Game of Thrones”, has sought to diversify its economy to avoid a repetition of recent boom-bust cycles.
Tourism has skyrocketed over the past decade to become Iceland’s growth engine after the 2008 global financial crisis triggered the collapse of the country’s oversized banking sector. But tourists have been kept out of the country for several months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Iceland is the only Nordic country that has not rebounded to pre-crisis activity levels after its economy plunged 6.6% in 2020. The $ 23 billion economy is expected to grow by 4 % this year, according to the central bank.
As in neighboring Norway, which also held elections this month, concerns about global warming emerged as a campaign theme, but also failed to make a significant dent in the outcome.
The anti-establishment Pirate Party, which aims for carbon neutrality for Iceland by 2035, five years ahead of schedule, is unlikely to increase its mandate, while the Social Democrats are expected to experience a decline.
While Jakobsdottir’s left-wing Green Movement lost three seats in parliament and Benediktsson’s party retained its number of mandates, the coalition’s third partner – the Agrarian Progressive Party – was the clear winner.
“We have a policy of maintaining economic stability and pursuing improvements without extremes or upheavals,” said Progressive Party chairman and former prime minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson. “I have the impression that these opinions won these elections and are part of my party’s great victory. ”