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First exit polls: Best Party front runner in Reykjavík

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.

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  • Stuart May 30, 2010, 1:19 am

    If I was an Icelander I’d also vote for the Left Greens and am disappointed at their relatively poor showing as well as the ridiculously high support for the IP in some areas. I’ve been watching a bit of the election programme but unfortunately can’t understand what people are saying. What’s the explanation people are giving for the Left Greens doing so badly? Obviously the rise of Besti Flokkurinn seems to have hit them particularly bad in Reykjavik but they’re down in some other towns too. I assume it’s mainly disappointment over their role in government and failure to, for example, stand up to the IMF or stop the recent sale of HS Orka. But then that’s maybe a good reason to give them more votes so they’ll have a stronger hand in their negotiations with the Social Democrats.

  • Virgile May 30, 2010, 1:32 am

    pffuuuu this is fucking sad…(not Eurovision.:-). People elected a party that has no plateform at all, no plan with a “leader” that is obviously high on something and make racist “joke” comment: “„Að lokum viljum við flytja inn gyðinga til að rétta við efnahagskerfið, því þeir kunna jú að fara með peninga. Ég var að hugsa um að búa til gettó í Skeifunni því þar er svo mikið af búðum.“ [Eventually we want to import Jewish to turn around the economy, because they may of course go with money. I was thinking about creating gettó in Skeifan because there is so many stores]”. ( link http://www.dv.is/sandkorn/2010/5/22/getto-i-skeifuna/ ) I think there is nothing to add to this.

    I can’t wait to see the people from Besta Flokkurinn get have some serious reallity check and Inhabitants of Reykjavík should expect some serious hangover. Starting monday they are going to have to start to be political, which they avoided to so far and that’s why they got so many votes.

    I don’t think people voted BF to give a big fat finger to the parties but because they ADORE Jón Gnarr who promises voters a fun life like on TV….In other words, people just elected some Icelandic version of Berlusconi.

    Congrats !

  • Stephen Cowdery May 30, 2010, 4:47 am

    We here in Minnesota elected an ex-professional wrestler (Jessie Ventura) who was widely dismissed by the established politicos. He turned out to be quite pragmatic, and very fiscally astute. His replacement, a deceitful career politician, has driven the state to bankruptcy. We elected the writer (and satirist) Al Franken to the US Senate and the world hasn’t ended (as yet) either. Hopefully your BP candidates will prove worthy as well.

  • The Fred from the forums May 30, 2010, 6:32 am

    What ever happened to the Citizen’s Movement?

  • Joerg May 30, 2010, 8:04 am

    Apparently the Left Greens were attracting protest votes as long as they were in opposition – a reservoir of voters, which now may have siphoned off by the Best Party. Let’s see, how they are going to perform. As they don’t seem to have an agenda, which has been agreed upon beforehand, they might start fighting and fractionizing as soon as serious issues pop up.

    I don’t think, that it’s just you, who considers the German entry into the Eurovision contest somehow poorly delivered. The Geman media had been full of praise before the competition but I’ll never manage to get the knack for predicting how people vote – except that Greece and Cyprus always exchange their 12 points.

  • Joerg May 30, 2010, 10:45 am

    Just found a nice gimmick- there is an interactive map on
     
    http://www.ruv.is/kosningar

    showing details of the elections. If you click on Eyjafjallajökull, it starts spouting ash – very funny. 🙂

  • goupil May 30, 2010, 10:58 am

    Why so many votes for the independence party ?
    Am I mistaken in thinking they were responsible for Iceland bankruptcy ?
    Are those 7000 voters the same ones who profited from privatisation, deregulation ?
    Here too we see corrupt and/or misleading politicians being reelected.
    Talking of some voter cutting their noses despite ones face
    Yours
    Christian

  • tom joseph aka tj3 May 30, 2010, 12:10 pm

    …a joke on TV or not, the Best Party is a reaction.

    That much i sclear..is it a shame? It is a shame that normal politics is so lame that it cannot walk and talk and chew gum at the same time.

    In the USA the Tea Party (far right) is now a factor. But beyond the Best Party and the US Tea Party is the non-party which is nothing at all.

    The non-party is boredom and disengagement for whatever reason, laziness or disappointment or any other thing.

    The non-party over threw the Soviet Union. Which is to say the Soviet communist state was overthrown by a non-political movement (non-movement) with no agenda at all. It was just the Russian people sick to death at Soviet politics and propaganda on TV.

    In Iceland the city elections that involve the Best Party are cousin to the Soviet situation. Which is to say do not let the conventional politicians say another word to me or I will throw up.

    In Russia the new politics is not that it is very conventional. The Best Party has not a chance to wield power or to do anything. The vacuum of power will be filled by the powerful (wealthy).

    Non the less, the Best Party is a phase that can make a mark and say something before the Icelandic Vald Putin takes control finally.

    If the Best Party is creative enough they can change the climate before the big boys dominate things once again.

    Good fortune Iceland and here and everywhere in this day of politics as a punch line for a joke. It is in fact,t really strange times.

  • Rik Hardy May 30, 2010, 2:25 pm

    About an hour into the Eurovision contest, a friend of mine said of the songs, “They’re all crap”.
    But I have to say that our crap had a helluva voice, and we should at least have beaten Israel, which had a weedy, out-of-tune voice, as did Britain, whom we did beat.

    As for the election, Alda’s commentary says it all in a delightful nutshell.

  • sylvia hikins May 30, 2010, 8:07 pm

    If it’s any consolation, I voted for Iceland because your singer had a great voice and belted out the song! Im afraid that the winner was a copy cat Lily Allen. But it was a great evening’s entertainment, gave us something to hurl insults at, and at the end the round Europe live outdoor dancing was cool. Personally I always have preferred The Rolling Stones and Brown Sugar! As for your local election results- I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It all feels like the politics of despair.
    sylvisafrom viking wirral
    ps: I agree with you about the Left Greens and I believe that world wide, the environment has got to be our number one concern.

  • alda May 30, 2010, 8:10 pm

    Thanks everyone.

    Fred – the Civic Movement split into two factions after a period of infighting. Three people split from it and called themselves The Movement and are now in parliament. The fourth CM member in parliament refused to join them and is now unattached as an MP.

    goupil – no one knows why the IP gets all these votes. My only explanation is that they’ve had a fairly strong mayor in Reykjavík and they really pushed her as a candidate. She sort of became the face of the IP. A lot of people are quite happy with her work.