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From Iceland — Iceland's Elections: Another District Recount Possible

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Published September 27, 2021

Following last Saturday’s election results, wherein Iceland had both a woman-majority Parliament and a new youngest member who was also the first of Kurdish descent for most of yesterday before a recount in the Northwest District undid those results, four parties are now calling for a recount in the South District, Vísir reports. Furthermore, unusual ballot securing procedures in the Northwest District have raised questions about the integrity of the count.

As reported, last night’s election saw the ruling coalition of the Left-Greens, Independence Party and the Progressive Party expand from 33 seats to 37. This was due to the strong performance of the Progressive Party, who expanded their seats from eight seats to 13, while the Independence Party held onto their 16 seats, but the Left-Greens lost one.

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It was initially reported following these results that Iceland became the first European Parliament to have women comprise the majority of seats, taking 33 of the 63 available. Amongst those was Lenya Rún Taha Karim of the Pirate Party, who was also the youngest member to be elected to Parliament in Icelandic history, and the first of Kurdish descent. However, the recount in the Northwest not only flipped the gender balance to 33 men and 30 women; Lenya Rún was taken out of her seat, and replaced with Gísli Rafn Ólafsson of the same party.

It further came to light that, on election night, the ballots for the Northwest District were not sealed; instead, they were locked in a room. By Icelandic voting laws, ballots are supposed to be sealed before counting. Lawyer Katrín Oddsdóttir told reporters that this fact undermines trust in the count as a whole.

Recounts might not even begin and end with the Northwest District, either. The Independence Party, the Socialist Party and the Pirate Party have now confirmed their support for a request put in by the Left-Greens that a recount be done for the South District. Votes were very close in some cases in this district; in one example, the difference between a candidate for the Centre Party or a candidate for the Left-Greens winning a seat comprised a mere seven ballots.

The election board for the South District is expected to take a decision on whether or not to hold a recount this afternoon. Whether more recounts will be called for remains to be seen.

Photo by: Adobe Stock

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