Iceland’s centre-left coalition has swept to power for the first time in the country’s 65-year history.
For the jubilant Social Democrat leader Johanna Sigurdardottir the result is confirmation that most people want Iceland to become an EU member. “This tells us that people want our vision for the future, our plan for the way into the European Union and the adoption of the Euro,” she said. However, her new centre-left coalition government will have to overcome disagreements about entering the EU and cutting spending and raising revenue to get state finances back in order. The scenes of celebration were a stark contrast to the atmosphere at the Independence Party headquarters. Its leader said they were paying the price for the global economic downturn. The election was called after widespread protests against the previous government. Some blamed it for the crisis that caused the economy to implode as banks collapsed under a weight of massive debts. Sigurdardottir is Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay leader.