The Icelandic snap election - a game changer

By Tanja Kristmannsdottir, Board Member

The snap election in Iceland was called with only a months notice after the government collapsed in the middle of September this year. It is worth noticing, that the snap election was held only a year after the last elections on Iceland. As expected, the snap election, which was held on October 28th, changed a lot. 

The Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn), the previous governmental party, continued to be the largest party on Iceland, which it has been for the last few decades. The Independence Party won 25,2% of the votes, which means that the party secured 16 MPs in Parliament. The Left-Green Movement (Vinstri grænir) were the predicted winners of the elections, but they didn‘t get as much support as the polls were expecting and ended up with winning only 16,9% of the votes and 11 MPs in Parliament . The Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) split in two right before the snap election but managed to hold on to all of their MPs which were elected back in 2016 (8 in total) with a result of 10,7% of the votes. The Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) did well in the snap election and increased their number of MPs from 3 to 7 by winning 12,1% of the votes. The Pirate Party (Píratar) lost 4 MPs and have now 6 MPs in Parliament (9,2%).

As a result, Iceland is looking at a new Parliament consisting of 8 different parties, a situation quite unusual for the country.

The two other governmental parties did terrible in the snap election. The Reform Party (Viðreisn) got 4 MPs elected and won 6,7% of the votes and while Bright Future (Björt Framtíð) won 1,2% of the votes, resulting in no elected MPs. Two new parties entered the snap election this year, the Centre Party (Miðflokkurinn), which split from Progressive Party, and Flokkur fólksins (the People's Party). The Centre Party managed to win 10,9% of the votes resulting in 7 elected MPs, while the People's Party won 6,9% of the votes and got 4 MPs elected.

As a result, Iceland is looking at a new Parliament consisting of 8 different parties, a situation quite unusual for the country. There are no chances of a two-party government, which means that the new government has to be formed by at least 3 or 4 parties. This is unusal for Iceland since the country normally has two-party governments. As of now, it looks like the new government has three options. First, it can go right and form a government consisting of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, the Centre Party and the People's Party. Second, it can choose to go left, which would result in the Left-Green Movement, the Social Democratic Alliance, the Progressive Party and the Pirate Party in government. Or third, there is the option of going across the usual left-right axis which would most certainly result in the following combination: the Independence Party, the Left-Green Movement and the Progressive Party.