Scratch That: Iceland Just Misses Electing a European First

Women did not actually take a majority of parliament seats in Iceland's election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2021 1:35 PM CDT
Updated Sep 27, 2021 12:01 AM CDT
Female Candidates Win a European First
Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir speaks to the media Saturday after voting.   (AP Photo/Arni Torfason)

(Newser) Update: After a recount, it was determined that Iceland actually did not elect the first-ever European parliament with a female majority Sunday. Initial results showed women won 33 of the 63 seats, but the recount showed the true number of wins for female candidates was 30, or 47.6% of the total seats, the BBC reports. The percentage is still among the highest in Europe, per CNN: Sweden has 47% women in parliament and Finland 46%. Our original Sunday story follows:

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For the first time in a European nation, more women than men were elected to Parliament on Sunday in Iceland. In races for Althingi seats, 33 of the 63 elections—52%—were won by women. That's nine more seats than women won in the last election, in 2017, the BBC reports. A political professor said gender quotes put in place by parties to the left over the past decade have changed expectations for all parties in Iceland, per the AP. "It is no longer acceptable to ignore gender equality when selecting candidates," she said.

The gains were made despite the fact that parties on the left didn't do well in the election. Centrist and center-right parties had the best showing of the 10 parties competing. Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir's Left Green Movement dropped a few seats, while the Progressive Party, part of the governing coalition, added five. The results indicate Jakobsdottir is likely, but not certain, to remain in power. The three-party coalition has not confirmed that it will continue to work together.

Six countries now have parliaments where women hold most of the seats. Rwanda ranks highest, with 61.3% of the members in its lower house being women. Sweden has the highest percentage of legislative women in Europe, at 47%. In the US, women account for 27.6% of the House seats. For the past 12 years, Iceland has been named the most gender-equal nation in the world by the World Economic Forum. It's had an equal pay law since 1961, per the BBC. (Read more Iceland stories.)

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