Iceland’s New PM Is a 41-Year-Old Anti-War Feminist and Environmentalist

Iceland’s new prime minister is a 41-year-old anti-war feminist, democratic socialist, who is also an expert on crime literature. Katrin Jakobsdottir plans to make the small island nation a world-leader in fighting climate change.

Her Left-Green Movement will lead a coalition government with two parties across the political spectrum in the hope it gives Iceland some ‘stability’. The country has been rocked by a cycle of scandals that have triggered three elections in the past four years. A snap election was called by former PM Bjarni Benediktsson in September over a furore caused by his father suggesting a paedophile, who repeatedly raped his stepdaughter for 12 years, should have his ‘honour restored’.

Less than a year earlier, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped aside as prime minister amid public fury over the Panama Papers revealing his family had sheltered money in offshore tax havens. In an attempt to break with the past, Jakobsdottir campaigned on a platform of restoring trust in government and leveraged a boom in tourism to increase public spending.

‘It is important that we try to change the way we work together,’ she said announcing the coalition on Thursday. ‘This agreement strikes a new chord.’ Jakobsdottir comes from a family of prominent poets, and before getting into politics, she studied literature with a special interest in Icelandic crime novels.

She is now among the world’s youngest leaders.

Jakobsdottir’s cabinet will be comprised of three members of her Left-Green party, five from the right-wing Independence Party and three from the Progressive Party. ‘In the new government, parties spanning the political spectrum from left to right intend to establish a new tone,’ a statement issued by the new prime minister’s office said.

 

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