Iceland's current government consists of a majority coalition between the center-left Social Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the leftist, environmentally focused Left-Green Movement (LG). The SDA-LG coalition, which holds 34 out of the 63 seats in parliament, was elected on April 25, 2009 in early parliamentary elections that were prompted by the country's economic crisis in the fall of 2008. The Chair of the SDA party, Johanna Sigurdardottir, is Iceland's first female Prime Minister and LG Chair Steingrimur J. Sigfusson serves as the country's Finance Minister. The government has initiated significant economic reforms and submitted Iceland's application to join the European Union (EU).
There are five political parties represented in parliament:
Social Democratic Alliance: Formed in 2000 from three leftist parties--the Social Democratic Party, the People's Alliance, and the Women's List--the SDA was created to challenge the long-dominant Independence Party. Though this effort failed initially, under the leadership of Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, the SDA eventually formed a coalition government with the Independence Party (IP) in 2007. It is now the senior member in a government coalition with the LG. The party has worked to reconcile the widely varying foreign policy views of its members, which range from strong support for NATO membership to pacifism and neutrality. The SDA is also the most openly pro-EU of Iceland's political parties.
Left-Green Movement: The LG was founded in 1999 by a group of politicians who did not agree with the planned merger of the leftist parties in Iceland that resulted in the SDA. The Left-Greens won a respectable 9% of the vote (5 seats) in 2003, but in the 2007 election they improved significantly, with 14% of the total vote (9 seats). The LG captured 22% of the vote and 14 seats in the 2009 election and joined the SDA as the junior partner in the coalition government. As its name implies, the party is focused on a Nordic...