29 June 2010

Reykjavík's new mayor Jón Gnarr - was he joking?

In April, it was reported that Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr had founded a mock political party called Besti flokkurinn (The Best Party) and planned to run in the election for Reykjavík City Council in May. The party's platform included a polar bear display for the zoo, free towels at public swimming pools and a new Disneyland near the airport.

In the elections held on 29 May, the party won the largest percentage of votes (34.7 per cent) for six of the 15 seats on the council. The Best Party and the Democratic Alliance formed a coalition agreement, thereby forming a majority.

On 15 June, it was reported that Jón Gnarr was sworn in as mayor.

Was this a mock or real political advertisement?

The voters/residents of Reykjavík sure have a great sense of humour.

See also New York Times.

Of course, power changes everything. In 1989, the Australian Capital Territory (similar to the District of Columbia) was forced to self-govern (it had until then been administered by the federal government). In its first election, three members of the No Self Government Party were elected (as a protest vote). Two years later, the three members left the party to become independents. One of them even became a government minister.

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