Iceland re-elects centre-right political parties blamed for financial meltdown
"Disappointing", "depressing", "embarrassing" and "shameful" were the words on the streets and in the trendy brunch bars of Reykjavik yesterday, as Icelanders voted even more overwhelmingly than predicted to return to government the centre-right political parties that oversaw their financial armageddon five-and-a-half years ago.
Bjarni Benediktsson, the young, smooth, handsome leader of the Independence Party, is highly likely to become the next Prime Minister after his party – by far the country's most successful since the Second World War – finishes negotiating the terms of a coalition with the Progressives, the country's oldest.
The Independence Party won 26.7 per cent of the vote and the Progressives, which had been far ahead in the polls over the last three months, 24.4 per cent.
"The Independence Party has been called to duty again," Mr Benediktsson said. "We've seen what cutbacks have done for our healthcare system and social benefits... now it's time to make new investments, create jobs and start growth."
The Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement, which won an emergency election in 2009 after violent protests outside parliament forced the government to resign, saw their share of the vote fall to 12.9 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively.
It was billed as the "weirdest" and the "swingiest" election there has been in a democratic country in a generation, but it was, in its way, quite predictable. "I don't know anyone who voted for them," said Edna Noadottir, an educational consultant in her 20s. "Well, apart from my Grandma, I mean. For old people, and for rich people, the Independence Party is like a religion. Some people, maybe, they had their faith shaken in 2009, but they have found it again."
But the disgruntled young people, who claim, with some familiarity, to have poor employment prospects and are unable to afford their own homes, certainly made their mark. Fifteen parties in total contested the 63 seats in the country's parliament under a system of proportional representation. Most of the parties were new and shared the view that Icelandic politics is broken and that things have to be done differently. Bright Future, the most prominent of the new parties, received 8.2 per cent of the vote and will have six seats.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...