Iceland Votes: Center Right Wins Razor-Thin Majority
centre-right coalition government has won a majority of just one seat
in general elections.
The government of Prime Minister Geir Haarde now hangs in the balance.
His Independence Party gained three seats, winning a total of 25.
But its coalition partner, the Progressive Party, lost five of its 12
Iceland is a nation of just over 300,00 people, most well known for its extensive use of geothermal power and its contributions to popular music (The Sugarcubes, Bjork, Magni from Rockstar: Supernova). The furthest-flung part of Europe, Iceland isn't getting much press as it goes to the polls to decide on not only the party in power but, ultimately the future of aluminum production in their country.
Voters in Iceland are going to the polls, in what observers say could be the closest general election in years.
The conservative Independence Party of Prime Minister Geir Haarde looks set to remain the biggest in parliament.
But his coalition partner - which supports the interests of major industry - is expected to lose seats.
Voters are concerned about the impact on the environment of plans to expand aluminium smelting. This could open the door to a new centre-left coalition.
Centre-left parties have called for a moratorium on aluminium smelter development.
The partnership between Mr Haarde's Independence Party and the Progress Party want aluminium giants to keep building smelters.
The main opposition parties - the Left Green and Social Democrats - are calling for a moratorium on development until the environmental and economic impact of the latest projects is clear.
The BBC's Nordic correspondent, Julian Isherwood, says that there is little doubt that Mr Haarde's conservative Independence Party will remain the largest party in parliament.
All of the polls suggest a vote of some 35% for the party that has kept the Icelandic economy strong and improving, our correspondent says.
But in Iceland that does not mean he will remain in power, he adds.
Icelandic politics, as in the rest of the Nordic region, is based on coalition building and Mr Haarde's current coalition partner, the Progress Party has continuously dropped in voter sympathies.