chapter  10
ELECTORAL POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE: TRANSFORMATION OF THE PARTY SYSTEM IN ICELAND, 1970–96
BySVANUR KRISTJÁNSSON
Pages 15

The previous chapters discussed political parties mainly as unitary actors. When a party is dominant, its pivotal role presupposes that the party is united and able to carry out a mandate. But when parties are internally fragmented, as in Iceland, and when there are also no clear ideological dividing lines between the parties, party dominance is hardy feasible. This chapter is meant to analyze the exceptional case of Iceland in which mandates and cleavages are mainly linked to candidates and not to parties. From the analysis of a deviant case like Iceland it becomes clear what a country without party dominance and without traditional cleavages may look like. Furthermore, it appears that some western democracies are moving towards the Icelandic model because party dominance and cleavages in their traditional forms are becoming diluted in more and more systems. Hence, it makes sense to have a closer look at the Icelandic case.