A total of 16 different political parties will field candidates in the upcoming elections to the Reykjavík City Council. As each party is required to field a list of 46 candidates a staggering 736 candidates will be standing for elected office in Reykjavík this spring: Nearly 1 out of every 100 voters is a candidate for office. The total number of eligible voters in Reykjavík in the least parliamentary elections was 92,000. Eligibility is broader in municipal elections, as many foreign nationals also have the right to vote. However, the unprecedented number of candidates means that nearly 0.8% of eligible voters are standing for office.
Foreign nationals have the right to vote
Voters will pick the 23 members of Reykjavík City Council.The municipal elections will be held on May 26. All Icelandic citizens who are residents of Reykjavík and are 18 years or older, citizens of the other Nordic Countries, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark who have been registered residents of Reykjavík for three years and all other foreign nationals who have been legally registered as residents of Reykjavík for at least five years.
The sixteen parties include five of the six parties which are currently represented on City Council, the Social Democratic Alliance, Left Greens, anti-establishment Pirate Party, which have worked together in the majority coalition, and the conservative Independence Party and Progress Party form the minority. The centrist Bright Future, which has been part of the majority coalition will not run in this year’s elections. Some of the supporters and members of Bright future have joined the new centrist party Restoration.
An endless parade of parties
In addition to these six established parties ten new parties which have not been represented on City Council will run. This includes six parties which are right of center: Two fringe far-right parties, the Freedom Party and the Icelandic People’s Front, two populist right-wing parties, The Center Party and the People’s Party, as well as two parties which are hard to pin down on the political spectrum but have aligned themselves closer to the right than left; a party called Reykjavík – Our City and the Capital City Party.
Two socialist-Marxist parties are also fielding candidates, the People’s Front and The Socialist Party. Two gender-specific parties will also run: The Women’s Party and The Men’s Party.
Majority coalition likely to hold
Polls indicate that the left-wing majority coalition in City Hall will hold in the elections. The latest poll from the newspaper Fréttablaðið shows that the Social Democratic Alliance with 30.5% of the vote, the Left Greens with 10.9% and the Pirate Party with 7.5%. The three parties would get 13 out of the 23 council seats.
The conservative Independence Party enjoys 22.4% support, centrist Restoration 8.3% and the populist Center Party with 7.3%. No other party has enough support to get a representative elected. Those which are closest are the Socialist Party (3.1%), the populist People’s Party (2.8%), and the centrist Progress Party and the Women’s Party have slightly further to go with 2.5% support. No other party breaks the 1% barrier.