OK, here’s the thing. We have municipal elections coming up at the end of this month and it’s just the most gag-worthy sideshow ever. The traditional parties are just re-hashing tired old election slogans and are bringing absolutely NOTHING new to the table. Everyone is in a state of complete apathy, it seems, especially the voters.
And then this new party comes along, called Besti Flokkurinn — the Best Party. And they’re ostensibly a joke, led by one of Iceland’s most popular comedians, Jón Gnarr, who makes silly election promises like setting up a branch of Disneyland in Reykjavík and putting a polar bear in the Family Park and Zoo and a toll booth on Seltjarnarnes. They’re just totally hamming it up … or are they? There’s the rub: they claim they’re perfectly serious, but some of their antics are just too hard to take seriously. I think that may well be their undoing – at the end of the day, it’s hard to know exactly what they’re all about, and that makes people kind of uneasy.
They’ve got this following. A couple of weeks ago they were the second-largest party in Reykjavík according to the polls, right behind the formerly revered [choke] Independence Party. At that time it looked like they’d get four members elected.
Yesterday the polls showed that they are now the biggest party in Reykjavík, bigger than the Independence Party, and would get six members elected if elections were held today.
Predictably analysts are having a field day trying to figure out what this means. They go on about how the public distrusts politicians and are therefore supporting a parody of the things the politicians have traditionally stood for, and how the Besti flokkurinn have come in to fill a void, and various other similar theories.
Personally I think they just liven things up a bit for everyone. And it’s true: we’re SO SICK of kreppa talk and news of corrupt politicians and all this depressing news that this is completely refreshing. These are colourful characters, and moreover very popular characters with the general public. And despite their silliness, I think a lot of people trust them a lot more than the old guard.
Plus they’ve got a kick-ass campaign video.