Recount scuppers Europe's first women-majority parliament in Iceland

The country has been ranked the most gender-equal in the world for the 12th year running

Iceland believed briefly it had become the first country in Europe to have a female-majority parliament, but a recount showed it fell short.

Of the 63 seats in the Althing parliament, 30 were won by women, or 47.6 per cent, following the recount in one of Iceland's constituencies, the head of the electoral commission in the Northwest constituency, Ingi Tryggvason, said.

"We decided to hold a recount because the result was so close," the official said.

Earlier on Sunday, projections based on final results had credited women with 33 seats, or 52 per cent.

The change does not change the overall distribution of seats, with Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s bloc, which unites three parties from left to right, boosting its representation by two to a combined 37.

The coalition won a fresh endorsement from voters after getting the Iceland’s tourism-dependent economy through a pandemic-induced slump. But new talks will take place on how the next coalition shapes up.

The Left-Green Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the centre-right Progressive Party together won 37 of 63 seats in parliament, up from the 33 they held before the vote.

Iceland does not have legal quotas on female representation in parliament, but some parties do require that a minimum number of candidates be women.

Politics professor Silja Bara Omarsdottir said the gender quotas implemented by left-leaning parties for the past decade had managed to create a new norm across Iceland’s political spectrum.

“It is no longer acceptable to ignore gender equality when selecting candidates,” she said.

Updated: September 27th 2021, 10:49 AM