Iceland PM Wins Mandate in Crisis Election

Leftist coalition seeks EU membership after economy's collapse
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2009 5:18 AM CDT
A man walks looks at election posters displayed, in Reykjavik, Iceland.   (AP Photo/Brynjar Gauti)
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(Newser) – Iceland's interim center-left government, which came to power in February after the spectacular collapse of the nation's economy, has won a resounding victory in a snap election, reports the Times of London. The "great, historic victory" was an endorsement of her plans to have Iceland "start thinking about the EU," said Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir in her victory speech.

Early results give Sigurðardóttir's coalition 52% of the vote, the first leftist majority in Iceland's modern history. Iceland was one of the richest countries in the world until late 2008, when the global financial crisis wreaked havoc on the country's outsized financial sector. Unemployment, once nonexistent in Iceland, has reached 10%, and the Icelandic krona lost 44% of its value.