Icelanders vote with climate change in mind
Posted on Saturday September 25, 2021 | 7:32
Updated 1 hour, 7 minutes ago
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) – Icelanders voted on Saturday in a general election dominated by climate change, with an unprecedented number of political parties likely to win parliamentary seats.
Polls suggest there will be no outright winner, sparking complex negotiations to build a coalition government.
A record number of nine parties could cross the 5% threshold needed to qualify for seats in the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. Successful parties include the Socialist Party, which promises to shorten the working week and nationalize the Icelandic fishing industry.
A high turnout is expected, as a fifth of eligible voters have already voted by mail.
Climate change is a major concern of voters in Iceland, a volcanic island nation dotted with glaciers of about 350,000 people in the North Atlantic.
An unusually hot summer by Icelandic standards – 59 days of temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) – and shrinking glaciers helped push global warming up the political agenda.
Polls show strong support for left-wing parties promising to cut carbon emissions more than what Iceland has already pledged to under the Paris climate agreement. The country has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040, a decade ahead of most other European countries.
The current government is a three-party coalition spanning the political spectrum from left to center-right and led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of the Green Left Party. It was formed in 2017 after years of political instability.
Jakobsdottir remains a popular prime minister, but polls suggest his party could do poorly, ending the current coalition.
“The country faces big decisions as we turn away from the pandemic,” Jakobsdottir said in a Friday night televised debate in which party leaders pledged to end Iceland’s dependence on the pandemic. oil and many wanted to raise taxes for the rich.
Follow all of AP’s stories on climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change.