This government lasted until 1974, when the Liberal Left withdrew its support over the issue of inflation. In the 1974 elections, the Liberal Left lost much of its support and 3 of its 5 seats, and a new coalition was formed between the Independence Party and the Progressive Party.
In 1978, the Liberal Left became the Liberal and Leftist Union, but failed to win any seats. This was the last election it contested. This election saw a significant decline in the electoral support received by the Independence Party (although it still held the most seats in the Althingi), and a new coalition was formed, with the Independence Party the only party receiving seats but not in the government. This government, however, was short-lived, as the Social Democrats withdrew support, again over the problem of inflation. After the 1979 elections, the Social Democrats and People's Alliance had posted small losses, with the Progressives having the largest gains and the Independence Party still having the most votes in the Althingi. However, there was considerable deadlock, as all four parties attempted to form coalitions, and all four failed. Finally, Gunnar Throddsen, the Vice Chairman of the Independence Party, acting against the will of the leaders of his party, managed to form a large coalition government between the three strongest parties, commanding 80% of the votes in the Althingi.
In 1982, the Social Democrats had further problems. A small group of dissenters within the party left to form the Social Democratic Federation, which won 7% of the vote and four seats in 1983, while the Social Democrats posted their lowest numbers in a decade. Also formed prior to this election was the Women's Alliance, which took 5% of the vote. The end result was a coalition between the Progressives and the Independence Party. In 1986, the recently formed Social Democratic Federation disbanded, with most of its members returning to the Social Democratic Party.
One month before the 1987 elections, Albert Gudmundsson, a charismatic leader within the Independence Party, left his party to form the Citizen's Party. Because of Gudmundsson's popularity, he was able to carry the new party to win 11% of the vote, while the Independence Party lost about an equal amount. Nonetheless, the Independence Party, still the strongest, headed up a coalition involving the Progressives and the Social Democrats.
In 1991, the Independence Party gained back virtually all of the support it had lost, and the Citizen's Party ended up with 1% of the vote and no seats. The Progressives lost their spot in the government, as now the Independence Party and the Social Democrats had a majority without them. In 1995, the Social Democrats encountered more internal dissent, with the People's Movement splitting off. The Social Democrats also lost their spot in the government, as the Independence and Progressive Parties formed a coalition that is still in place.
In 1999, a major union of parties occurred, as the People's Alliance, Social Democrats, and Women's Alliance united to form the United Left. However, some members of the People's Alliance were unhappy with this union, and left to form the Left-Green Alliance. This leaves four major parties: the Independence and Progressive Parties in the government, with the United Left and the Left-Green Alliance in opposition.
Original Parties from 1950-1962 continuing to 2000
221 Independence Party. The Independence Party has, without exception, been the strongest party in Iceland for the last fifty years. It has been a part of every coalition since 1963 except for two: from 1971 to 1973, and from 1978 to 1979. When it has been in power, the Independence Party has held the position of Prime Minister every time except from 1983 to 1986. Altogether, since 1963 there have been only four Icelandic Prime Ministers who were not members of the Independence Party. The current government, with the Progressive Party, has been in power since 1995. Other than a slight dip in support in the 1987 election, the Independence Party has consistently held about thirty-five to forty percent of the seats in the Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament.
222 Progressive Party. Since 1963, the Progressive Party has emerged as the second strongest party in all but two elections. It has been part of every coalition since 1971 except one, from 1991 to 1994. Of the four Icelandic Prime Ministers since 1963 who were not members of the Independence Party, three were Progressives. The Progressive Party is part of the current government, working with the Independence Party. In the 1999 elections, the Progressives fell out of second place in power when the United Left, a union of several leftist parties, contested its first election and took twenty-seven percent of the seats. It is unlikely that the Progressives will regain the number two spot without a significant shift in the ideology of the electorate.
New Parties formed after 1962 and continuing to 2000
2211 People's Movement. In 1995, another splinter group broke from the Social Democratic Party to form the People's Movement. The party won seven percent of the vote in 1995, as well as several seats, but did not win any seats in the 1999 elections.
2212 United Left. In the late 1990s, three parties were observing declining support and decided to look into merging into a single party. The People's Alliance, Social Democratic Party, and Women's Alliance combined to form the United Left in 1999, which twenty-seven percent of the seats and votes that year. Since this party has only contested one election, it is impossible to predict its future strength or even whether it will remain a united party. However, it is clearly approaching politics as one party, rather than as a coalition of parties, so it is included here as a party.
2213 The Left-Green Movement. When the People's Alliance decided to merge with the Social Democrats and the Women's Alliance, a group of people within the People's Alliance, dissatisfied with the merger, decided to split off and form the Left-Green Movement in 1999. In its first election, it gathered nine percent of the votes, or two-thirds of the vote received by the People's Alliance in the previous election. Clearly this party kept much of the support of the People's Alliance, but since the leaders of the People's Alliance supported the merger, this is considered a new party rather than a continuation of the People's Alliance under a new name.
2214 The Liberal Party. The Liberal Party was formed in 1998 and first contested the 1999 elections; it won four percent of the vote and two seats in the Althingi. The party is a strong supporter of the free market system and opposes centralization unless absolutely necessary.
Original Parties from 1950-1962 terminating before 2000
223 People's Alliance. The People's Alliance was part of three governments between 1971 and 1982, claiming right around twenty percent of the vote consistently during that time. In 1987, the People's Alliance only took thirteen percent, and seemed to be losing support. In 1999, the People's Alliance merged with the Social Democrats and Women's Alliance to form the United Left. Some members, dissatisfied with the merger, split off to form the Left-Green Movement. However, since this was a minority faction, the Left-Green Movement is considered a new party rather than a continuation of the People's Alliance.
224 Social Democratic Party. The Social Democratic Party was involved in roughly half of the coalitions between 1963 and 1999. In 1979, the Social Democrats held the position of Prime Minister in a caretaker capacity; this was the only Prime Minister who was a member of neither the Independence nor Progressive Parties. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, the Social Democrats began to falter. In 1983, and again in 1995, splinter groups broke off and took with them some of the party's support. Each such group lasted only one election, but each damaged the party's popularity. The 1995 election brought the Social Democratic Party's worst performance in twenty years. In 1999, the Social Democrats merged with the People's Alliance and the Women's Alliance to form the United Left.
New Parties formed after 1962 but terminating before 2000
225 National Defense Party. The National Defense Party contested elections throughout the 1950s, but won seats only in 1953. Eventually, the party ceased to contest elections due to a lack of success.
226 Liberal and Leftist Union. The Liberal and Leftist Union began with a group of dissident members of the People's Alliance who split off in 1967 to form the Independent People's Union, which won one seat with four percent of the vote. In 1970, the group became known as the Liberal Left. In 1971, the Liberal Left won five seats and became part of a governing coalition with the Progressives and People's Alliance. Those five votes were needed to sustain a majority in the Althingi. In 1974, the Liberal Left lost three seats and lost their part in the government. In 1978, the Liberal Left was renamed the Liberal and Leftist Union, but the party failed to win any seats in the Althingi. The Liberal and Leftist Union chose not to contest any elections after that point.
227 Social Democratic Alliance. In 1983, a splinter group broke off of the Social Democratic Party to form the Social Democratic Alliance. This new party claimed seven percent of the vote and four seats in the Althingi. In 1986, the party disbanded, with three of its seats returning to the Social Democratic Party and one going to the Independence Party.
228 Women's Alliance. Formed prior to the 1983 elections, the Women's Alliance won ten percent of the popular vote just four years after its creation. After peaking at ten percent, however, the Women's Alliance's support began to dwindle until it decided to merge with the People's Alliance and the Social Democratic Party in 1999 to form the United Left.
229 Citizen's Party. The Citizen's Party was formed a month before the elections in 1987 by Albert Gudmundsson, a disaffected former leader of the Independence Party. Essentially because of his popularity and leadership, the party claimed eleven percent of the vote immediately. However, in 1991, Gudmundsson chose not to seek reelection, and the party received barely one percent of the popular vote. It did not contest the next election.
2210 Association for Equality and Social Justice. The Association for Equality and Social Justice first contested the 1987 election, winning one seat. It never again won representation in the Althingi.
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