So close! Iceland almost gets female-majority parliament

Iceland Election

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland briefly celebrated electing a female-majority parliament Sunday, before a recount produced a result just short of that landmark for gender parity in the North Atlantic island nation.

The initial vote count had female candidates winning 33 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat parliament, the Althing, in an election that saw centrist parties make the biggest gains.

Hours later, a recount in western Iceland changed the outcome, leaving female candidates with 30 seats, a tally previously reached at Iceland's second most recent election, in 2016. Still, at almost 48% of the total, that is the highest percentage for women lawmakers in Europe.

Only a handful of countries, none of them in Europe, have a majority of female lawmakers. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda leads the world with women making up 61% of its Chamber of Deputies, with Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico on or just over the 50% mark. Worldwide, the organization says just over a quarter of legislators are women.

“The female victory remains the big story of these elections,” politics professor Olafur Hardarson told broadcaster RUV after the recount.

Iceland’s voting system is divided into six regions and the recount in western Iceland was held after questions about the number of ballots cast. The mistakes have not been entirely explained but are thought to be due to human error.

The three parties in the outgoing coalition government led by Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdo