The Icelandic parliament is called the Alþingi, and dates back to the year 930, not long after the settling of Iceland. People met for two weeks in the summer at Þingvellir to settle disputes, hear the laws in effect at the time or adopt new laws. With parliamentary elections in Iceland coming up this week, I thought it might be nice to go over some vocabulary related to voting and elections, as well as look at the major parties running for seats in the legislature.

What would elections be without polls? You may see the following phrase every other day in the Icelandic news, with large swings in support among the major parties leading up to election day:

“Samkvæmt nýrri könnun…” – “According to a recent poll…”

Electorate-wise, Iceland is broken up into six geographical regions, or kjördæmi:

Reykjavíkurkjördæmi norður
Northern Reykjavík
Reykjavíkurkjördæmi suður
Southern Reykjavík
Southwest – includes Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður
Northwest – includes Akranes and Ísafjörður
Northeast – includes Akureyri
South – includes Keflavík and Selfoss

An attempt is made to balance the number of representatives from each district so that the lesser populated regions of the country still have adequate representation in the Alþingi, which has a total of 63 seats.

að kjósa – to elect, vote
present past
ég kýs kaus
þú kýst kaust
það kýs kaus
við kjósum kusum
þið kjósið kusuð
þau kjósa kusu

The conjugation of kjósa is irregular, similar to others with -jó- in the root like bjóða, sjóða and brjóta.

The word “party” in the political sense is flokkur – you will see this as part of several of the names of Icelandic political parties.

flokkur (m) – group, party
singular plural
nom flokkur flokkar
acc flokk flokka
dat flokki flokkum
gen flokks flokka

flokkur can also have the meaning of follower.

Here is a list of the main parties running for office in this election, along with the relevant vocabulary related to their names:

Framsóknarflokkurinn – The Progressive Party
Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn – The Independence Party
Landsbyggðarflokkurinn – The Provincial Party
Húmanistaflokkurinn – The Humanist Party
Flokkur heimilanna – Household Party

fram·sókn f (-ar)	advance, progress
sjálf·stæði n (-s)	independence
lands·byggð f (-ar)	country, countryside
heimili n (-s,-)	home, household

Some colorful party names:

Hægri grænir – Right Green
Vinstri græn – Left-Green
Regnboginn – Rainbow
Björt framtíð – Bright Future

And a few more parties (there are many candidates this year):

Sturla Jónsson – Sturla Jonsson
Lýðræðisvaktin – Democracy Watch
Alþýðufylkingin – People’s Front of Iceland
Samfylkingin – Social Democratic Alliance
Dögun – Dawn
Píratar – Pirate

lýð·ræði n (-s)		democracy
vakt f (-ar,-ir)	shift, watch
al·þýð/a f (-u)		the people (nation)
fylking f (-ar,-ar)	alliance, party
dögun f (-ar)		dawn, daybreak



Alþingishúsið, Reykjavík


Vocabulary related to voting and elections:

Al·þingi n (-s)				Althing (parliament)
kosning f (-ar,-ar)			election
kjör n (-s,-)				election
fram·boð n (-s,-)			candidacy
kjör·dæmi n (-s,-)			constituency
kjör·seð/ill m (-ils,-lar)		ballot (paper)
flokk/ur m (-s,-ar)			party
hreyfing f (-ar,-ar)			movement
þingmaður m (-manns,-menn)		member of parliament
skoðana/könnun f (-ar, kannanir)	poll, survey
kjós/andi m (-anda,-endur)		voter
at·kvæði n (-s,-)			vote
greiða atkvæði með + dative		vote for something
úr·slit n pl				outcome, result
embætti n (-s,-)			position, office

All about the Alþingi
Main election page on RÚV – X13
Further information in English from Wikipedia – List of political parties in Iceland