Satiric political party wins council poll in Iceland

Last Updated: Sun, May 30, 2010 16:40 hrs

An Icelandic political party founded in jest in the wake of the financial crisis has straightaway won a majority during council elections in the capital Reykjavik, the broadcaster RUV reported Sunday.

The Best Party of television comedian Jon Gnarr received 34.7 percent of votes cast over the weekend, snagging six of the 15 council seats and thereby becoming the largest party in the body, ahead of the traditionally leading Conservatives and Social Democrats.

Best Party members include artists and other prominent Icelanders.

During the election campaign, Gnarr had promised free towels at all hot springs and a polar bear for Reykjavik's zoo, so that a spherical cave at the local Ikea store would no longer be the greatest children's attraction in the capital.

'We can promise more than the others, because we will in no way keep these promises,' Gnarr said during the campaign.

The comedian is now laying a claim to the post of mayor.

Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir called the results of the council election 'a shock.'

They are being seen as a protest against those politicians who share responsibility for Iceland's 2008 banking collapse.

It left the island nation of 320,000 inhabitants with a gigantic debt burden, which has to be in part paid off through higher taxes, pension and social services cuts.