Iceland used to have one of the lowest score world wide when it came to corruption. As we have learned in the two years since the economic collapse we didn't have less corruption. We just had less knowledge of it. It turns out that ministers and politicians were in some cases getting millions of dollars from companies in "risk free loans", being sponsored anonymously with hundreds of thousands of dollars and had much more knowledge of the dangers lying ahead than the public was told. Not only that, but in the last term in the city council in Reykjavik the leadership was changed several times with new coallitions, sometimes in "hostile takeovers". Not violent ones, but by betraying agreements and contracts. This has resulted in a total collapse of confident in politicians, especially in the capital.
There seems to be only one party that hasn't been connected to the corruption - the left green party, a party that has gained momentum, but is for most people way too far to the left to be get their votes. So the options people are left with is voting between this corrupt party or the other.
A new city council will be elected next Saturday. A new party led by the countries most popular comedian Jón Gnarr has won the heart and mind of the voters and is getting up to 43% in polls, meaning they're getting close to pure majority. Some politicians have said that this shows that voters have completely lost it, but what it shows is that the politicians have completely lost it. No one trusts them anymore. People feel that when the options are the old parties, who are just a bad joke, they could just as well elect something that is at least a really good joke.
The new party is simply called "The Best Party" and has the letter Æ (which can mean both "Ouch!" as well as "Oh, well" in Icelandic, depending on how you say it). The reason Jón Gnarr decided to go into politics is simple: "I want a well paid job where I have the influence to help friends and family with all sorts. I'd also like to have an assistant and all sorts of freebies."
The party follows a simple and popular ideology in thirteen counts:1. To help the homes in the country
2. Improve live quality of the less fortunate
3. Stop corruption
5. Increase transparency
6. Effective democracy
7. Drop all debt
8. Free bus rides for students and losers
9. Free dental services for children and losers
10. Free swimming for everyone and free towels
11. Drag those responsible for the economic collapse to court
12. Complete equality of the sexes
13. Listen more to women and old people
And like all good politicians, Jón Gnarr has been generously giving promises, such as:
* A polar bear in Húsdýragarð (the park of domestic animals)
* Disneyland in Vatnsmýri (an area in the center of the city)
* Toll booth on the roads to Seltjarnarnes (which is on the same peninsula as Reykjavik, so they always have to go through, no matter where they're going)
People know politicians never keep their promises any way, and Jón Gnarr has said that he can give any promise he likes because as a politician, he doesn't have to keep them :)
Now, party that are just a joke tend to get much higher outcome in polls than in reality. I still think it is a real chance that the Best Party will actually become the biggest party and Jón Gnarr the next mayor of Reykjavik. He's even picked out a "mayor's vehicle" - and no, it's not a limousine, it's an RV. And it will not be used to sleep in but to drive around town and meet with people for chat and coffee. That's just an excellent idea.
Even though Jón Gnarr is a comedian and a lot of what he's doing is a joke, he's actually doing a lot of things right, fulfilling some of his promises. He's showing the absurdity of politics and bringing it closer to the people at the same time by using crowd-sourcing for all sorts of issues. And you can not take away from him that he thinks much further out of the box than most politicians.
We'll see what happens in Reykjavik on Saturday - may the Best man win ;)