In today’s profile of the major Icelandic political parties, we take a look at Bright Future. Although roughly the same age as the Pirate Party, the two parties have gone on very different trajectories, and in this blog we’ll take a look at why that might have happened…
In the run-up to elections in 2013, the satricial ‘Best Party’ in Iceland achieved significant success as a result of a backlash against the established parties. The Best Party even won a plurality of seats in 2010 on the Reykjavik City Council, with policies such as bringing in a polar bear to the city zoo, free towels in all city swimming pools, and a drug-free national parliament by 2020.
In 2012, the Best Party founded Bright Future, alongside Guðmundur Steingrímsson (an MP defecting from the Progressive Party) and Róbert Marshall (an MP defecting from the Social Democratic Alliance). In elections the following year, the party came fifth with 8.25% of the vote, winning them six seats in the Althing.
Its current leader, Óttarr Proppé, has been an MP since the 2013 election, having previously been a member of a band called HAM between 1988 and 1994, and fronting the rock-caberet group Dr. Spock. European readers may also remember Proppé from Iceland’s 2014 Eurovision entry, where he sang as part of Pollapönk for their entry ‘No Prejudice‘ (Óttarr is the purple one on the right).
Although the party managed to reach a peak of 21.8% in national polling in 2014, Bright Future has struggled as much of the anti-establishment vote has gone to the Pirate Party. Polling currently suggests that Bright Future will only narrowly reenter parliament on 6%.
Bright Future describes itself as a party that champions social liberalism and advocate diversity in all areas. They also believe in ‘responsible thinking’, particularly around the protection of natural resources.
- Take action to improve healthcare in remote parts of Iceland
- Change Iceland’s timezone by turning back clocks one hour permanently, to contribute to improved sleep patterns and general health
- Provide rent subsidies for students to rent apartments
- Work to curb food waste by half by 2020
- Establish ownership policy over state-controlled energy company Landsvirkjun
- Set up advisory group on the possibility of setting up an electricity cable from Iceland to Europe, to enable the country to export energy to the mainland
Constitution and democracy
- Change the voting system for presidential elections to a two-round vote (similar to that of France)
- Reduce the salary of the president role
- Make all MPs’ wages and benefits public
- Introduce tax reforms that benefit the ordinary citizen and simplify the tax code
- Waive customs and excise on milk (excluding cow’s milk) to ensure those who prefer alternative sources of milk are not financially punished
- Supports membership of the European Union
- Establish client-controlled assistance for disabled people, to enable them to manage their service themselves and enjoy independence in their life
- Ban discrimination based on disability the same way it is banned for race, age and other minority groups
- Abolish Iceland’s ancient laws on personal names, which prohibit ‘gender-inappropriate names’ and favour surnames originated from the given name of the father
- Revoke Icelandic Church’s ability to be given free land by local authorities
- Introduce legislation to prohibit ‘revenge pornography’
In the final profile of the Icelandic political parties tomorrow, we will take a look at a selection of Iceland’s minor parties that are unlikely to cross the 5% threshold to enter the Althing…