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Best Party wins, Jón Gnarr for mayor

So the final results in the local elections went just as indicated by the exit polls. The Best Party got six out of 15 seats on the Reykjavík city council, the Independence Party got five, Social Democratic Alliance three and Left-Greens one.

Old Jón Gnarr [the popular comedian who is at the helm of the Best Party, for anyone who has just joined us] described the victory as “surreal” and has seemed decidedly perplexed by the whole thing. Predictably he has been swarmed by media people wanting to know what he plans to do next, and he’s looked completely at a loss. [Although to be fair it’s hard to know when he’s being serious and when it’s an act — which is part of his appeal.] It’s slightly cringe-worthy to watch, although also rather refreshing to have someone who’s not spouting empty political clichés for a change.

He has, however, insisted on the mayor’s seat.

It’s now up to the Best Party to initiate discussions with either the IP or the SDA in order to form a majority, although theoretically the IP and SDA could also form a majority. Jón Gnarr, however, appeared on the RÚV evening news a few minutes ago and revealed that he’d been in a meeting with the Social Democrats where “you know, we were all just getting to know one another.” The reporter asked whether this meant the BP had initiated formal discussions with the SDA about forming a coalition, to which he replied in the affirmative.

Again, even though I didn’t vote for them, I am definitely very curious to see where this will lead. The pundits have chewed on the old chestnut about “the people wanting change” and “the beginning of the end for the fjórflokkur” — the four major parties — all day today, and yes, that is pretty evident. We’re all sick and tired of the old and want fresh winds blowing through our political landscape, and with any luck, they will.

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  • Jeff Garland May 30, 2010, 9:13 pm

    I wish you the Best of luck!

  • Chris May 30, 2010, 11:23 pm

    The results are indeed interesting. But for me for some other reason as well: I am astonished how many people still vote for the IP. The majority of Besti is only very small.

  • hildigunnur May 30, 2010, 11:35 pm

    Chris, yes that really is a huge mystery!

  • alda May 31, 2010, 12:30 am

    Yep, to those of us who don’t support the IP it is incomprehensible. The only explanation I can find is that they’ve really pushed their mayor as a candidate because many people are happy with her work. The campaign ads prior to the election portrayed her basically as running on her own — the Party was (probably purposely) kept way in the background.

    That said, they do have a lot of support nationwide, and I expect it’s because people feel the socialists have failed in what they set out to do. Which was totally foreseeable since they’ve had to make a lot of unpopular decisions, many of which seem arbitrary and unfocused.

  • jim May 31, 2010, 4:57 am

    Curious about what authority the Mayors office has in Reykjavik. Is it like in the US?
    Didn’t Hunter S Thompson nearly win election for mayor in Aspen years ago? How bizarre would that have been?

  • Joerg May 31, 2010, 8:24 am

    Local elections are often dominated by the personality of the candidates rather than by party affiliation, which might explain some of the support for the IP candidates. And I suppose, there are many people either on the receiving end of the nepotistic scheme or their personal strategy to get through the crisis is based on denial or on putting the blame on the current clean-up government.

    Nevertheless, it’s strange to see that the support for the old connections is still quite strong, particularly outside Reykjavik. E.g. in a community like Reykjanesbær the backing of the IP seems to be unshaken by things like the shady Magma Energy deal.

  • Chris May 31, 2010, 11:50 am

    @Alda: Thats right. People are quite pleased by her way to do the job. And we got the letters from her as well 🙂

  • Alexander E. May 31, 2010, 4:42 pm

    @Chris
    “@Alda: Thats right. People are quite pleased by her way to do the job. And we got the letters from her as well”

    Chris. You got the letter not from her but from the Machine. Names of voter extracted from government database (I doubt it’s very lawful) and inserted into letter’s template then mailed to all of us …at whose expense? I’m afraid again at my and yours!

    “I am astonished how many people still vote for the IP”
    I’m suprised that you are astonished. IP members control huge chunk of economy i.e. they provide jobs and pay salaries to people. And this is hell more important for many people than jokes about bright future. So these people voted for their stable present. About same number of people that voted for IP simple didn’t show up at all. This is astonishing!

  • Kris May 31, 2010, 7:16 pm

    This is really bad news. If he has to form a coalition with the IP he is just going to get taken for a ride. Now the IP will have a cover man like WallStreet has Obama and the Euro bankers had/have Bono (the King of Fools!).

  • rifek May 31, 2010, 10:51 pm

    @Alexander E.
    Too true. As Mark Twain wrote, “Show me where a man gets his cornpone, and I’ll tell you what his opinions are.”