Iceland’s election to be a political maelstrom as nine parties in the fray, might create political instability

 

Icelanders are going to the polls today. As the citizens of the island-nation begin voting on Saturday, there is an eerie sense of calm before the storm as recent opinion polls show that nine parties are expected to enter parliament. This does not say much for stable governance as it will be difficult for these ideologically different parties to find common ground on contentious issues such as climate change and healthcare.

 

Climate change is an issue that affects all Icelanders. They consider their nation to be the “Land of Fire and Ice.” The country has a varied landscape of volcanoes as well as glaciers. Its natural beauty and contrasts made it the backdrop for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” TV series.

 

 

Iceland has committed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, a goal that is ahead of many of its European counterparts. However, young Icelanders are looking to achieve carbon emissions goals at a faster pace.

 

Leftwing parties are also asking for higher expenditures on healthcare. This has been an important issue in the elections as the pandemic was a huge blow to the island’s tourism industry. It has also made Icelanders consider it an important issue.

 

The current coalition government, formed in 2017, is politically diverse. It consists of parties from left to center right and was formed to provide stability. Although Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of the Left Green Party is still popular, her party is not expected to well in the polls. However, she could form a coalition with other left-wing parties who might gain support as per opinion polls.

 

Politicians have huge disagreements on the use of the country’s abundance in energy. Some parties want to use it for economic growth while others want green solutions for the future. If nine parties enter the parliament as indicated by recent polls, there is bound to be additional conflict on climate issues.

 

 Iceland’s voting is scheduled to close at 2200 GMT. The results are expected to be announced on Sunday.

Image Credit Sate Department

By Fran Cano Cabal – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28407138

 


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