Well, the first exit polls in the municipal elections are in. As predicted by the polls the Best Party is largest in Reykjavík, with around 8,000 votes of around 21,000 ballots counted. The Independence Party gets around 7,000 of those votes and loses two council seats.
According to those figures, the Best Party gets six members elected, the IP five, the Social Democrats four, and the other four parties in the running zero. That includes the Left Greens AND the Progressive Party which for decades was one of the strongest parties in Iceland and which, along with the IP, laid the foundation for the economic collapse in the years leading up to 2008. In fact, of those 21,000 votes, the Progressives had a measly 13. They got BULLDOZED.
So now everyone is going on about how surprising this is and how immensely significant and yadayadayada, which is kind of stupid because this is what the polls have been predicting for weeks. It’s totally in line with what everyone already knew, which is that most people are ready to vomit at the sight of Politics As We Know It and want something different. They just don’t quite know what that something is supposed to look like, and at this current moment the Best Party seems the closest thing to it.
I can totally relate, even though I didn’t vote for the Best Party because I didn’t buy into their absence of a proper manifesto. In fact just watched an interview with a BP supporter who said the support for the BP was a joyous event because it means people are sending traditional politics the proverbial finger. In other words, not because they’re keen to start implementing the things they’re passionate about and believe in, but because their election means that the general public is sticking it to tradition. Which in my mind isn’t quite reason enough to be elected the biggest party in Iceland’s most important constituency.
That said, I can’t deny that I’m interested to see what they will do, now that they will have to prove themselves.
I had planned to turn in an empty ballot, but in the end I voted for the Left-Greens, not because I’m so strongly behind them and think they’re the right thing for Reykjavík, but because they are the only party which has a clear policy in environmental matters, i.e. they are dead against letting our natural resources come under foreign ownership – something I am extremely passionate about. So I cast them my ballot, even though I’m just as sick of traditional politics as the next person. And I can say with absolute truthfulness that I won’t be upset if they don’t get in. I just don’t care that much.
Oh and BTW, Iceland placed 19th in the Eurovision Song Contest this evening, which was also entirely foreseen. I thought our song was pretty awful this year, and that there was an unusual amount of good songs in the running. Germany won by a long shot, with a song that I thought was quite charming, but which in my opinion was poorly delivered. I’d love to see it sung by someone else with a stronger singing voice. But that’s just me.