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Icelandic Parliamentary Election 2017: Party Overview

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Icelandic Parliamentary Election 2017: Party Overview

Alþingi, Iceland's parliament

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

Tomorrow, October 28th, Iceland will hold parliamentary elections, only one day short of a year since its last election. The previous three-party governing coalition consisting of The Independence Party, the Reform Party, and Bright Future disbanded just last month, when Bright Future left the coalition citing a breach of confidence.

Below is an overview of the parties that are currently running for election, although not all of them will be running in every constituency. Parties are listed alphabetically by their party ballot letters. The overview includes a brief description of each party’s ideology, their top candidate in each of the six constituencies, and their previous parliamentary experience.

XA - Björt Framtíð (Bright Future)

Current number of seats: 4/63

Bright Future identifies as a liberal and environmentally friendly center party. They are a social liberalism party and pro-European Union.

Their top candidates are Óttar Proppé (party chairman and current Minister of Health), Nichole Leigh Mosty (kindergarten principal and current MP), Björt Ólafsdóttir (current Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources), Jasmina Crnac (university student), Guðlaug Kristjánsdóttir (municipal councillor and physical therapist), and Arngrímur Viðar Arngrímsson (sports instructor).

Bright Future was in government with the Independence Party and Reform Party this term, before leaving the coalition, which led to the collapse of government.

XB - Framsóknarflokkurinn (The Progressive Party)

Current number of seats: 8/63

The Progressive Party is Iceland’s oldest party, identifying as a centre, populist, agrarian and Eurosceptic political party.

Their candidates are Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson (current MP and former prime minister), Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir (current MP and solicitor), Ásmundur Einar Daðason (former MP), Þórunn Egilsdóttir (current MP), and Willum Þór Þórsson (operations economist).

The Progressive Party has been in a large number of governments, the last of which was between 2013-16.

XC - Viðreisn (Reform Party)

Current number of seats: 7/63

The Reform Party is a centre-right party. Their main ideologies include free trade and equality, along with a pro-EU stance.

Their top candidates are Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdótir (Chairman and acting Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture), Hanna Katrín Friðriksson (current MP), Þorsteinn Víglundsson (current Minister of Social Affairs and Equality), Jóna Sólveig Elínardóttir (current MP), Gylfi Ólafsson (current Assistant to Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs), and Benedikt Jóhannesson (current Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs).

The Reform Party was in government with the Independence Party and Bright Future last term. It was officially founded in May of last year, though it has existed as a political network since 2014.

XD - Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (The Independence Party)

Current number of seats: 21/63

The Independence Party is a liberal conservative and Eurosceptic right-wing party. Its chairmen have all been prime ministers since the party’s creation in 1929.

Their top candidates are Bjarni Benediktsson (current Prime Minister), Kristján Þór Júlísson (current Minister of Education, Science and Culture), Haraldur Benediktsson (current MP), Guðlaugur Þ. Þórðarson (current Minister for Foreign Affairs), Sigríður Á. Andersen (current Minister of Justice), and Páll Magnússon (current MP).

The Independence Party has been in the most governments of any party, including the most recent one alongside The Reform Party and Bright Future.

XF - Flokkur Fólksins (The People’s Party)

Current number of seats: 0/63

The People’s Party’s main issues are better conditions for the poor, elderly and disabled. Its ideologies are populism and identifying as a centre party.

Their top candidates are Inga Sæland (lawyer), Ólafur Ísleifsson (economist), Guðmundur Ingi Kristinsson (board member of the Organization of Disabled in Iceland), Karl Gauti Hjaltason (lawyer), Halldór Gunnarsson (former parish priest), and Magnús Þór Hafsteinsson (editor and author).

The People’s Party received 3.5 percent of the vote in last year’s election; not enough to earn a seat in parliament.

XM - Miðflokkurinn (The Centre Party)

Current number of seats: 0/63

The Centre Party is Iceland’s newest political party, a self-proclaimed centrist party with populist and liberal ideologies.

Their top candidates are Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (former Prime Minister), Bergþór Ólason (CEO), Birgir Þórarinsson (theologian), Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (former Minister of Foreign Affairs), Þorsteinn B. Sæmundsson (former MP), and Guðfinna J. Guðmundsdóttir (municipal councillor).

The Centre Party split from the Progressive Party earlier this autumn, when former Chairman and Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson left due to leadership disputes.

XP - Píratar (Pirate Party)

Current number of seats: 10/63

Based on pirate politics and direct democracy, the Pirate Party describes itself as a syncretic political movement.

Their top candidates are Helgi Hrafn Gunnlaugsson (former MP), Jón Þór Ólafsson (current MP), Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (current MP), Smári McCarthy (current MP), Einar Aðalsteinn Brynjólfsson (current MP), Eva Pandora Baldursdóttir (current MP).

The Pirate Party has been in Parliament since 2013, when they won three seats, winning 10 in last year’s election.

XR - Alþýðufylkingin (People’s Front of Iceland)

Current number of seats: 0/63

The People’s Front of Iceland is an anti-capitalist, leftist political party that is “unconditionally opposed” to joining the EU and NATO. It seeks to “free the people from the yoke of market capitalism.”

Their top candidates are Þorvaldur Gylfason (carpenter), Vésteinn Valgarðsson (support representative), Þorsteinn Bergsson (animal inspector) and Erna Lína Önnudóttir Baldvinsdóttir (university student).

The People’s Front of Iceland split from the Left-Green Movement (see below) in 2009 and has taken part in every election since, though it has yet to gain a seat. The party is currently running in four out of six constituencies.

XS - Samfylkingin (Social Democratic Alliance)

Current number of seats: 3/63

The Social Democratic Alliance is a center-left, pro-EU social democratic party.

Their top candidates are Logi M. Einarsson (Chairman and current MP), Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson (adjunct), Guðmundur Andri Thorsson (author), Helga Vala Helgadóttir (solicitor and actress), Guðjón S. Brjánsson (current MP) and Oddný Guðbjörg Harðardóttir (current MP).

Since its foundation in the year 2000, the party has served six terms in parliament and two in government.

XT - Dögun (Dawn)

Current number of seats: 0/63

Dögun is a political party that centers on fairness, justice and democracy.

Their top candidate is Ragnhildur L. Guðmundsdóttir (teacher).

Dögun was formed in 2013 with the merger of a number of smaller parties. In its first parliamentary election the party received 3.1 percent of the vote. In last year’s election it received 1.73 percent. In this election the party is only running in one constituency.

XV - Vinstri Hreyfingin Grænt Framboð (Left-Green Movement)

Current number of seats: 10/63

The Left-Green Movement is a left-wing party that centers on environmentalism, feminism and pacifism. It considers itself Eurosceptic although it supports a referendum on the matter.

Their top candidates are Katrín Jakobsdóttir (current MP), Svandís Svavarsdóttir (current MP), Steingrímur J. Sigfússon (current MP), Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir (current MP), Lilja Rafney Magnúsdóttir (current MP) and Ari Trausti Guðmundsson (current MP).

The party has been in parliament since 1999, and in government between 2009-13.

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