May 30, 2010 9:30 PM   Subscribe

The Best Party (link in Icelandic), led by comedian Jón Gnarr has won 34.7% of the vote in the Reykjavik City Council election after a campaign promising, among other things, a new polar bear for the Reykjavik Zoo. Icelanders will soon know the answer to one of the most important questions in politics: Does power corrupt funny people?

The Best Party, established in 2009, now holds six seats on the 15 seat Council, with Gnarr becoming Mayor-Elect.

Gnarr also wrote and starred in this allegorical short film (Part 2), entitled 'the Man on the Back'.

Frivolous political parties aren't unheard of - they usually campaign in protest, or on ridiculous policy platforms - but it's rare for them to garner popular support. (A rare exception being the Polish Beer-Lovers Party won 16 seats.

If you've got a bit of time, check out some other joke political parties from around the world.
posted by doublehappy (24 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

The 21st Century keeps delivering.

also, totally booked my tickets to Iceland like 2 hours ago.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The most important question to ask really is, is Reykjavik Zoo going to get its new polar bear?
posted by LSK at 9:46 PM on May 30, 2010

Given what happened in Iceland while the professional politicians were in charge, voting in the comedians can only be an improvement.

(Perhaps the Icelanders are taking a cue from their close relatives in Minnesota, who elected Al Franken to the Senate in 08.)
posted by grounded at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not forgetting H'Angus, the monkey elected Mayor of Hartlepool. He's a monkey because legend has it the people of Hartlepool once hanged a monkey thinking it was a French spy. Couldn't make this shit up.
posted by jontyjago at 10:55 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Comedian Jacob Haugaard won a seat in the Danish parliament in 1994 as the first independent candidate ever elected. During his term he mainly abstained from voting/didn't participate in debates, and did not seek re-election.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:10 PM on May 30, 2010

Also read L. M. Bogad's Electoral Guerrilla Theatre, it's awesome.
posted by jrb223 at 11:45 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Let those in a country that did not elect an actor to play president, or governator for that matter, cast the first stone.
posted by Cranberry at 11:52 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

The most important question to ask really is, is Reykjavik Zoo going to get its new polar bear?

I heard that one from Lost needs a new job.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:09 AM on May 31, 2010

Not sure but the polar bear reference could be due to the fact every time a polar bear somehow floats down to Iceland from the artic they tend to shoot them, like 3 in the past 2 years or something.
posted by Damienmce at 12:53 AM on May 31, 2010

Hey, the US has Al Franken, right?
posted by kaibutsu at 1:28 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

And Japan has Sonomanma Higashi.
posted by greasepig at 2:26 AM on May 31, 2010

i'm not a fan of career politicians, but i can't help but think celebrity-as-politician is going to produce much better results.
posted by msconduct at 3:25 AM on May 31, 2010

and did they get authorization to use that song for the campaign or is there a lawsuit in gnarr's near future?
posted by msconduct at 3:26 AM on May 31, 2010

kaibutsu: Has everyone forgotten about Arnold Schwarzenegger?
posted by blook at 4:04 AM on May 31, 2010

I'm pretty sure I saw an episode of Monty Python about this.
posted by crunchland at 4:44 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

You know, that's six fewer politicians who's role models established the disastrous banking regulatory system, which can only be good for Iceland.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:12 AM on May 31, 2010

blook: Big Schwarzy isn't an intentional comedian, you see. He's just a joke in practice.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Best Party is Iceland's hipster elite. Jón Gnarr was a poet and novelist before he broke through as a comedian in the mid-90s. He had a brilliant comedic partnership with Sigurjón Kjartansson, frontman of Icelandic goth-rockers Ham (cover of Abba's Voulez-Vous, Partýbær). Sigurjón didn't run alongside Jón (Sigurjón lives in an outlying town of Reykjavík) but the other singer of Ham was in the third seat on the party's list (in Iceland you vote for lists and the parties get a number of seats in proportion to their vote total). Second was Einar Örn Benediktsson, who was the male singer of The Sugarcubes. Pictures of Best Party candidates. All the candidates, as far as I can tell, come from the arty, hip milieu. Which isn't a bad thing, they have at least two high-up candidates who have educational backgrounds in urban issues, which is better than most political parties.

When asked they described their political philosophy as anarcho-surrealist, which most Icelanders took as a joke but I think is probably a fairly good encapsulation of their political beliefs. Their role model is mayor of Bogotá and Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus. To get a better feel for Jón Gnarr as a politician, read this fairly long interview with him in the fine English language free magazine The Reykjavík Grapevine. As far as I know they're all pretty damn left-wing. Currently they're in negotiations with the centre-left social democrats (who got 3 members of city council) to form a working majority.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the Best Party will run Reykjavík well.
posted by Kattullus at 6:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]

Hey, the US has Al Franken, right?

The big difference is that the Best Party is explicitly jokey, whereas Franken's entire candidacy was pretty damn serious. The Best Party promises a new polar bear for the zoo; Franken talked about universal health care and wrote a bill to get service animals for veterans.

This isn't a knock against the Best Party, by any means - god knows it's entirely reasonable for Icelanders to want to kick out the bums and let some new folks in. But The Best Party is still jokey, and Al Franken, when he announced his candidacy, pretty much entirely stopped joking at all.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:08 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

A rare exception being the Polish Beer-Lovers Party won 16 seats.

Oh Poland, why dost thou taunt me so?
posted by tommasz at 10:33 AM on May 31, 2010

Iceland can thank its lucky stars it was comedians & not puppeteers that won nearly 35% of the vote - the last thing the country needs right now is a hung parliament.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:10 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ah, the age-old formula of populism: panem et ursus maritimus.
posted by edguardo at 6:40 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Have any of you been to the Reykjavik Zoo? The best thing there is the carousel. I'm not sure a polar bear (which does have some logical reason to be there, being as they do drift over now and then) would help.
posted by QIbHom at 8:53 AM on June 1, 2010

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