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Increased Voter Turnout Among Youth

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Increased Voter Turnout Among Youth

Photo: Golli

There was a notable increase in voter turnout among 18 and 19-year-olds in last October's Parliamentary election, Vísir reports. The group was voting for the first time and appears to have a greater interest in politics than its predecessors. The percentage of young people voted rose 9.5% in only one year, from 68.7% in the Parliamentary elections in 2016, to 75.2% in this year's elections. This was revealed in 'Hagtíðindi' from Hagstofa Íslands (Statistics Iceland).

The elections took place on the 28th of October 2017, due the disbanding of the previous coalition government due to a breach of trust. The breach of trust concerned the case of restored honour for a convicted paedophile, as the father of former prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson had written a letter in support of the paedophile Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson.

81.2% of the populace partook in this election, which is higher than in the last three parliamentary elections (2016, 2013, 2009). Voter turnout had been between 85% to 87%, previous to the 2009 election.

It had previously been theorized that the voting population would experience some degree of voter fatigue, as there had been numerous parliamentary elections in the preceding years. There have been 5 parliamentary elections in the ten-year span between 2007 and 2017. The previous seven governments, before 2007, had lasted their four-year span, between the years of 1979 to 2007. Since then, only one government has lasted its four year lifetime, which was the left coalition government of Samfylkingin (Social Democratic Alliance) and Vinstri Grænir (Left-Green Movement) between the years of 2009 and 2013.

The group with the highest voter turnout were first-time voters in the capital area. Young women had a noticeably higher turnout rate than males of the same age, as, e.g., 18-19-year-old women in the Reykjavík south district had a 82% voter turnout rate while males of the same age only had a 74% turnout.

Voter turnout rates were higher in the country at large than in Reykjavík. The district with the highest voter turnout was the North-east district while Reykjavík north had the lowest turnout.

Following this election, a coalition government led by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir was formed on the 30th of November, 2017. The coalition consists of Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (the Independence Party), Vinstri Grænir (the Left-Green Movement), and Framsóknarflokkurinn (the Progressive Party).

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