- Unicameral parliament
- Name: Parliament (Althingi)
- Members: 63
- Term: 4 years
- Constituencies: 6 or 7 multi-member constituencies (10 to 11 seats each). The exact number and boundaries are determined by the Electoral Law.
- Voting system: Proportional: Party list system using closed party lists. 54 of the 63 seats are allocated on the basis of constituency results (d'Hondt). The nine remaining seats are supplementary seats attached to particular constituencies. Supplementary seats are allocated according to the d'Hondt method, in order to give each party a number of seats in proportion to its share of the national vote. A party must win 5% of the national vote to obtain a supplementary seat.
- Voter requirements: 18 years of age; Icelandic citizenship; legal residence in the country (citizens legally residing abroad and having resided in Iceland at some time can also vote under certain conditions).
- Voting is not compulsory.
Election results 1991-2009, main parties
The April 2009 elections were held against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, which brought down the Government in January 2009. They were constitutionally due by May 2011. On 1 February 2009, a caretaker government was formed by the Social Democratic Alliance (SF) and the Left-Green Movement (VG). Ms. Johanna Sigurdardottir (SF) became the country's first female prime minister.
On 13 March, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson issued a decree dissolving parliament and calling elections for 25 April. The main contenders were the SF, the VG, the Independence Party (SSF), the Progressive Party (FSF) and the Liberal Party (FF). Two new parties formed after the financial crisis - the Citizens’ Movement and the Democracy Movement - were also vying for seats.
Although the SF and the VG said they would form a new coalition government, they disagreed on a key issue, the country's accession to the European Union. Ms. Sigurdardottir's SF pledged to join the EU and introduce its currency, the euro, in order to save the country's economy. The VG, on the other hand, led by Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson, proposed a currency union with Norway. It pledged to organize a referendum before the country joins the EU, as did the Citizens’ Movement.
The SF came in first with 20 seats; its coalition partner, the VG, took 14. The SSF and the FSF took 16 and nine seats respectively. The Citizens’ Movement won four while the FF and the Democracy Movement failed to win parliamentary representation. On 11 May, the SF and the VG formed a new coalition government, thus renewing Ms. Sigurdardottir's premiership. It was the first left-wing government in Iceland. For the first time in over six decades, the SSF did not participate in the government.
Hardarson, O. & Kristinsson, H. 2008. Iceland. European Journal of Political Research, Volume
Hardarson, O. & Kristinsson, H. 2008. The parliamentary election in Iceland, May 2007. Electoral Studies, Volume
Government (Iceland), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 27 October 2009 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/is.is.20
Inter-Parliamentary Union, PARLINE: database on national parliaments