Monday, May 31, 2010

While anarchists have often run farce candidates in various elections there are others who have done the same. The most famous Canadian examples were the Rhinoceros Party and the Workless Party, and in Britain the Raving Monster Looney Party had its day in the sun. The basic idea is to mock the regular political parties when all seem to be merely different sides of a disgusting mess. As such farce candidates offer a place to put "protest votes", something akin to a none-of-the-above option.
What happens, however, when the farce party actually wins. In Iceland people are particularly disillusioned with their political parties, and the 'Best Party' (Besti flokkurinn in Icelandic) was formed in 2009 by Jón Gnarr, a famous Icelandic comedian. From the beginning it promised to not honour its promises which included free towels in city swimming pools, a polar bear for the city zoo and a Disneyland at Vatsmyri, the airport of Reykjavik the country's capital. Armed with a quiver full of satire the Best Party went forth to battle the hated Icelandic politicians in the recent municipal elections.
As the polls trickled in, however, it became more and more clear that the Best Party might actually win. Shocked by this horrendous development party members scrambled to throw together an actual platform that was serious rather than farcical. You can read it at the Wikipedia entry on the Best Party. What was predicted came to pass. In Reykjavik the Best Party won the largest number of seats on the City Council (6 out of 15), and the jokers are confronted with the unenviable situation of actually being taken seriously. No worse fate could befall any comedian. The world waits with bated breath to see what jesters in power can do. Here's a brief news item about the event from the Reykjavik Grapevine.
Final Results from City Elections
by Paul Nikolov
The final results of Reykjavík city elections are in. Of a possible 15 seats on city council, Jón Gnarr's Best Party has won six, the Independence Party won five, the Social Democrats won three, and the Leftist-Greens won one.

There was only a difference of 660 votes between the conservatives and Best Party, but this gave the latter the edge to get an extra man in. At the moment, the Best Party is currently in a meeting to decide what the next step is going to be.

Former mayor Hanna Birna Kristjándóttir was more than happy to point out the victories her party made in well-established conservative strongholds throughout the country, although the party took its shares of damages as well, such as in Reykjavík. The Social Democrats also got hit pretty hard, nationally speaking. The Leftist-Greens more or less held onto their own, but lost a seat in the capital. The Progressives fared worst of all in the capital area, only managing to get one of theirs in town council in Kópavogur and Álftanes.

Gnarr isn't yet giving away who he intends to form a majority coalition with, but has said he's willing to work with everybody. Social Democrat Dagur B. Eggertsson said that it would be a long shot working with the Independence Party, and Hanna Birna said that while her party could conceivably form a coalition with the Social Dems to form a majority, that wouldn't necessarily be in harmony with the will of the voters.

Talks on forming a majority, or an announcement of what form that majority will take, are still pending.

1 comment:

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