Four years ago, a group of punk anarchists with no political experience led by Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr formed a joke political party, the Best Party, to campaign for Reykjavik's mayoral and city council positions, hoping to lighten up local politics in the wake of the catastrophic Icelandic financial meltdown. To everyone's surprise, they won.
After winning a plurality of the votes in the municipal election (Previously
on MetaFilter) on the tails of a charming campaign video
, the Best Party announced they would only form a coalition with a party whose leaders had watched all five seasons of The Wire. (Luckily, the Social Democratic Alliance had.) Gnarr had told voters he could make more promises
than all the other candidates because he intended to keep none of them.
But in four short years, the Best Party, without much interest in being re-elected and therefore not much beholden to entrenched interests, re-organized the floundering Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavik Energy), merged the city's preschools, extended bike paths, appointed an official Christmas Cat
, reorganized zoning, and set Reykjavik back on firm financial footing. One of his co-founders is now head of the city council for Reykjavik; another went on to national parliament and Eurovision
. Of forming the party
, Gnarr said, "I felt like a character in a Beckett play, where you have moral obligations towards something you have no possibility of understanding."
On June 16, Jón Gnarr's term came to an end
, making him only the third mayor
of Reykjavik since 1980 to serve a full four-year term.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Jón Gnarr has left the building