Written by By Lisa Magee, CNN
Iceland has done it again.
The Nordic island nation, often cited as the poster child for climate change and sustainability in the region, has elected the first female-majority parliament in Europe.
With 38.3% of votes cast, women made up 41.7% of Iceland’s new MPs, easily beating their male counterpart’s 32.8%. Three women will sit in the newly formed Icelandic Parliament (SMÞEL), and ten were elected to the island’s upper house.
“Iceland’s history is full of firsts,” said a delighted Birgitta Jonsdottir, one of the nine women who will join Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in the national government. “With our recent election we have broken yet another barrier.”
In a nod to the radical nature of the ruling female government, the Speaker of Parliament on Saturday appointed her as the first woman to lead Iceland’s legislative body.
“I take the oath in the name of all citizens of this land,” she said in a statement on the government’s website, holding aloft her ministerial portfolio.
Johanna Sigurdardottir delivers her victory speech in Reykjavik on Saturday. Credit: Birgitta Jonsdottir/Twitter/@bbjonsdottir
Sigurdardottir, a former Green Party Member of Parliament, was elected leader of Iceland’s newly formed left-wing democratic alliance in December. The party has never held power before and appealed to voters to give them the opportunity to govern, promising environmental protections.
Analysts cite Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s previous tough stance on the controversial Ardgard coal-fired power plant as one reason for the party’s success.
Iceland’s Economy Minister Gudni Th. Thordarson addresses election results in Reykjavik on Saturday. Credit: Birgitta Jonsdottir/Twitter/@bbjonsdottir
“With this new government the existing government is significantly weakened and we are hopeful that the next Icelandic government will be re-elected to a new mandate,” said Jakobsdottir, citing her plan to scrap the plant, and more, in an interview with CNN last week.
Although women held a larger share of parliament seats in most other European countries during the election, the highest percentage of female representation in the bloc was only 11% in the Netherlands, according to The Hill