Iceland narrowly missed out on achieving the first female majority parliament after initial results in its election on Saturday, produced 33 out of a possible 63 seats that were won by women. However, a recount meant that Iceland slightly fell short of achieving a female majority parliament as 30 out of 63 seats were won by women.
According to TheJournal.ie, citing the AFP, ‘no European country has had more than 50% women lawmakers, with Sweden until now coming closest at 47% , according to data compiled by the World Bank’
Further, ‘unlike some other countries, Iceland does not have legal quotas on female representation in parliament, though some parties do require a minimum number of candidates to be women.'
Around the world, five other countries currently have parliaments where women hold at least half the seats, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union: Rwanda (61%) Cuba (53%), Nicaragua (51%) and Mexico and the United Arab Emirates (50%)’.
In terms of the results, the recount did not affect the overall election result. Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s left-right coalition won a majority, but the three parties are nonetheless expected to begin negotiations in the coming days to decide whether they will continue to govern together.
The coalition has brought Iceland four years of stability after a decade of political crises, but Jakobsdottir’s Left-Green Movement emerged weakened after losing ground to its right-wing partners, which both posted strong showings.
The Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centre-right Progressive Party together won 37 of 63 seats in parliament, up from the 33 they held before the vote. But the Left-Green Movement itself won only eight seats, three fewer than in 2017, raising questions about Jakobsdottir’s future as prime minister.
The largest party remained the Independence Party, whose leader Bjarni Benediktsson — the current finance minister and a former prime minister — has long been eyeing Jakobsdottir’s job. It won almost a quarter of votes and hung on to its 16 seats.
But the election’s big winner was the centre-right Progressive Party, which gained five seats, to 13.
After four years of concessions on all sides to keep the peace within the coalition, it is conceivable that the two right-wing parties may want to try to form a government without the Left Greens.
TheJournal.ie citing the AFP elaborated further by saying that ‘deep public distrust of politicians amid reported scandals sent Icelanders to the polls five times from 2007 to 2017. This is the first time since 2003 that a government has retained its majority.
In summary, the recent election in Iceland has dominated headlines for its production of a female majority in parliament.
If it came through, it would have been the maiden European country to achieve such a milestone. In the end, the election produced just over 47 per cent of female representation.