Iceland appears to be writing a new history in Europe, becoming the first European country to elect a women’s majority in parliament.
According to projections based on the final results of the elections, women won about 33 of the 63 seats in the Icelandic parliament (Althingi), a majority of women of 52 percent.
With this result, women get nine more seats than the last elections in 2017.
This is the first time women have achieved a parliamentary majority in any European parliament, and Sweden has only approached the 47 percent threshold, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Unlike some other countries, Iceland does not have a statutory limit (quota) for women’s representation in parliament, although some parties require that a minimum number of candidates be women.
The country has long been considered a leader in gender equality and was ranked as the most gender equal country in the world for the 12th consecutive year, in the World Economic Forum’s report released last March.
Men also get the same benefits as women’s maternity leave, known there as parental leave, and its first law on equal pay for men and women dates back to 1961. It was also the first country in the world to elect a female president in 1980.
Among those elected was Linya Rin Taha Karim, of the opposition Pirate Party, at just 21, becoming the youngest female lawmaker in the country’s history.
“I just woke up, I’m not going to lie about it, and I had to put the phone on flight (disconnect), because it was exploding around me,” Lenya told reporters. “I got too many messages, and I could read one of them saying ‘Congratulations’, so I assumed I won.”
Women achieved a parliamentary majority in only five countries in the world, and Rwanda tops the list, and the proportion of women represents more than 61.3 percent of the members of the House of Representatives.
It is followed by Cuba with 53.4 percent, Nicaragua with 50.6 percent, and Mexico and the United Arab Emirates with 50 percent. While women make up only 34.2 percent of the members of the House of Commons in Britain and only 27.6 percent of the House of Representatives in the United States.
The left-right coalition government, led by Prime Minister Catherine Jacobsdottir, also succeeded in increasing its parliamentary majority.
However, it appears that the Prime Minister’s Green Left Movement party will lose several seats, while its right-wing partners will gain five new seats, casting doubts about Catherine’s future as prime minister.
Opinion polls predicted that the coalition would not reach a majority, but increased support for the centre-right Progressive Party, which won five more seats compared to the 2017 elections, raised the coalition’s total seats to 37, according to state broadcaster RUV.
Parties in the current government, which consists of Jacobsdottir’s Green Left Movement, the conservative Independence Party and the Progressive Centrist Party, said before the election that they would negotiate continued cooperation if they won a majority of seats.