Comic Party Wins Iceland Election; Promises Disneyland at Airport, Transparent Corruption

Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Jón Gnarr (photo: Hordur Sveinsson, Hamberger Abendblatt))

Running on a platform described as “anarcho-surrealism,” Iceland’s Best Party (Besti Flokkurinn) is no longer just a big joke. The six-month-old party led by one of the nation’s best-known comedians, Jón Gnarr, won a stunning victory in the capital city of Reykjavik’s local elections, securing the largest percentage of votes (34.7%) and capturing six of the 15 seats on the city council.

The ruling coalition, consisting of the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement, fared poorly in the election, a likely result of voter unhappiness over an economy that was crippled by the 2008 financial crisis.
Analysts say Gnarr stands a good chance of becoming mayor of Reykjavik. He told the local media that people shouldn’t be alarmed by his party’s rise to power. “Nobody needs to be frightened of the Best Party because it’s the best. And we only want what is best—if we didn’t, we’d be called the Worst Party or the Bad Party.”
During the campaign Gnarr vowed, if elected, to add a polar bear to the city’s zoo and build a Disneyland near the airport, among other promises listed in his party’s music video, which claims that his is the “bestest of parties.” Gnarr has also promised “topnotch stuff as a general rule,” and “a drug-free parliament…by 2020.”
A couple of Gnarr’s other campaign promises:
“I want to become mayor, so that I can do a lot of good things…for my friends and relatives.”
“We want to abolish corruption…by doing our own corruption in plain sight.”
Apparently inspired by the amplifier in Spinal Tap, Gnarr stressed that “Every party has values. Most parties have five to ten values. But Besti Flokkurinn has twelve. This is because Besti Flokkurinn is the best party in everything.”
And how many Americans can relate to this appeal from the Best Party video: “All by yourself on Election Day, the ballot looking lifeless and a little gray, you have to choose. It’s all such a mess. Vote for us; we’re the best.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Comic's Party Bests Rivals in Iceland Vote (by Michael Casey, Wall Street Journal)


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