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Iceland has elected a female-majority parliament

Iceland has elected a female-majority parliament, a landmark for gender equality in the North Atlantic island nation, in a vote that saw centrist parties make the biggest gains. After all votes were counted Sunday, female candidates held 33 seats in Iceland’s 63-seat parliament, the Althing.

Politics professor Silja Bara Omarsdottir said the gender quotas implemented by left leaning parties for the past decade had managed to create a new norm across Iceland’s political spectrum. According to projections based on the final election results, 52% seats have been won by women. This would mark an increase of nine seats from the last election in 2017. No other European country has breached the 50% threshold, with Sweden coming closest at 47%, according to data from the Inter Parliamentary Union.

Climate change had ranked high on the election agenda in Iceland, a glacier studded volcanic island nation of about 350,000 people

in the North Atlantic. An exceptionally warm summer by Icelandic standards — with 59 days of temperatures above 20 C (68 F) — and shrinking glaciers have helped drive global warming up the political agenda.

BBC ADDS: The country has long been considered a leader in gender equality and was ranked the most gender equal nation in the world for the 12th year running in a World Economic Forum report released in March.

It offers the same parental leave to both men and women, and its first law on equal pay for men and women dates back to 1961. It was also the first country in the world to elect a female president in 1980.

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