Iceland: a majority of women elected to parliament, a first in Europe

Of the 63 seats in the Althingi, 33 will be occupied by women, or 52.3% of the hemicycle.

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A first in Europe. Women will form the majority in Iceland’s new parliament, according to the final parliamentary election results released on Sunday, September 26. Of the 63 seats in the Althingi, 33 will be occupied by women, or 52.3% of the hemicycle, according to projections based on the final results of the poll organized on Saturday. While several parties reserve a minimum proportion of women among their candidates themselves, no law imposes a quota of women for legislative elections in Iceland, according to the democracy organization International Idea.

According to data compiled by the World Bank, no country in Europe has ever crossed the symbolic threshold of 50% of women in parliament, with Sweden so far in first place with 47% of women MPs. Around the world, five other countries currently have at least half of women in parliament, according to the International Inter-Parliamentary Union: Rwanda (61%), Cuba (53%), Nicaragua (51%) as well as Mexico and the United States. United Arab Emirates (50%).

Iceland is regularly at the forefront of the cause of women. In October 1975, the country was the scene of a major unprecedented women’s strike to demand better wages and a larger place. The country, which now has 370,000 inhabitants, was also the first to democratically elect a head of state in 1980. The country is currently led by a woman, the leftist-environmentalist Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdóttir, whose party emerges weakened from these legislative elections with only eight seats. With 37 elected out of 63, the ruling left-right alliance retains the majority, but the two right-wing parties find themselves in a position to form a different coalition.

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