Iceland elects first female-majority European parliament

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Thirty-three women were elected to the 63-seat parliament in Saturday’s election, up from 24 in the last election. Iceland, a North Atlantic island of 371,000 people, was ranked the most equal country in the world for the 12th consecutive year in a World Economic Forum (WEF) report released in March.

“From a historical and international point of view, the most important news is that women are now in the majority in the Icelandic parliament, and a first in Europe. This is good news, ”President Gudni Johannesson told RUV.

Only three other countries – Rwanda, Cuba and Nicaragua – have more women than men in parliament, while Mexico and the United Arab Emirates have an exact 50/50 split, according to IPU data.
In Europe, Sweden and Finland have 47% and 46% respectively of women in parliament.

“Iceland is once again at the forefront of gender equality!” UK Ambassador to Iceland Bryony Mathew said on Twitter. “Fantastic!”

Opinion polls predicted the ruling coalition would not win a majority, but an increase in support for the center-right Progressive Party, which won five more seats than in 2017, brought its total number to 37 seats, according to the public broadcaster RUV.

The current government, which consists of Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement, the Conservative Independence Party and the Progressive Party, said ahead of the election that it would negotiate further cooperation if it held his majority.

President Johannesson said he would not give any party a mandate to form a new government, but would wait for coalition talks between the three parties.

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The Independence Party again became the most important in parliament with 16 seats, unchanged from the last elections. Party leader and former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said he was optimistic the three parties could form a coalition and that he would not demand to lead a new government, RUV reported.

The Left-Green Movement won eight seats, up from 11 in the 2017 elections, although two parliamentarians left the party shortly after the last elections.


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